There is a interesting legal conundrum now underway in Colorado, which has resulted in a controversial court case that claims anyone who pays taxes on marijuana is offering a confession to Uncle Sam that they have been willingly breaking federal law.
In a lawsuit filed this week in the Denver District Court, attorney Rob Corry claims that marijuana-related businesses and their customers should be exempt from paying taxes because in doing so, they are providing the United States government with documented evidence of criminal activity under federal prohibition laws.
Not only do heavy taxes on marijuana challenge the basis for legalization, says Corry, but forcing taxes to be paid on a substance that is banned by the federal government is a clear violation of the Fifth Amendment, which serves to protect American citizens from being forced into providing authorities with information that may incriminate them.
"There can be no possible scenario where a person paying ... marijuana-specific taxes can also be in full compliance with federal law," the lawsuit states.
The complaint, filed on behalf of the organization No Over Taxation, calls for a preliminary injunction that would prohibit the state from collecting taxes on retail pot sales, which could cause state and federal governments to lock horns once again in an attempt to hash out yet another challenge imposed by allowing states to legalize a substance currently banned under federal jurisdiction.
Corry’s argument cites the US Constitution’s supremacy clause, "federal law is supreme over, and preempts, state or local law,” which legal experts say could be enough for a judge to award the injunction. If this happens, the concept of a state approved marijuana commerce could become a double amputee in the grand scheme of the greater good.
The Colorado Attorney General’s office recently told Reuters that they intend to “aggressively” fight this case to the bitter end, stating that Corry’s “claims are bizarre and lack legal and logical consistency.”
Other legal experts across the state believe there is only a “marginal chance at best” that a judge will issue the injunction.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.