marijuana taxes tax
Marijuana Business News

Colorado Attorney Files Lawsuit To Stop Taxes On Marijuana Sales

marijuana taxes tax
(via dailyfinance.com)

Colorado marijuana attorney Rob Corry has filed a lawsuit on behalf of marijuana business owners and consumers with the goal of stopping taxes from being collected on marijuana sales. The lawsuit claims that taxing marijuana sales violates the ‘right against self-incrimination guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit was filed in Denver District Court and seeks to get an injunction against marijuana taxes. Per Reuters:

Corry, who also represents businesses in the marijuana industry and brought the suit on behalf of several marijuana dispensary owners and pot users, names elected officials and tax-collecting agencies as defendants in the complaint.

A spokesperson for the Colorado Attorney General’s Office said that they will fight the lawsuit with everything they have. Colorado has benefited greatly from marijuana taxes. The taxes generated from marijuana sales in Colorado has been one of the ‘go to facts’ provided by marijuana reform supporters nationwide.

Whether or not the lawsuit will be successful is something that people will have to wait to see. What the motivation is behind the lawsuit is unknown as far as I can tell. As a law nerd, I find the argument compelling. But as a marijuana activist, I’m having a hard time fitting my head around why someone would want to derail marijuana taxes. Things seem to be going well in Colorado from what I’ve observed from afar, and from what I have heard from friends and colleagues that live there. This lawsuit is a story worth following, and I’ll do my best to keep readers updated.

  • Bic

    It appears to me to be a back door attack on Federal Laws against legal marijuana. If people pay taxes on marijuana sales or use they are in effect admitting to breaking Federal law and thereby incriminating themselves. If the states want to keep collecting the huge revenue from MJ sales they will have to fight harder to change Federal regulations that outlaw marijuana sales and use. Time to start taking sides folks. You cant have it both ways.

    • Jetdoc

      Yeah you’re no longer going to make money on our backs while putting people in JAIL for it everywhere else. Interesting argument as well as a compelling argument. It’s gonna be fun watching this one. Either shit or get off the commode! But were not gonna let ya just sit there any longer!

      • crimsonking

        Who is this directed at? The federal government or the state governments that have legalized? They’re not one and the same and aren’t even on the same side necessarily.

        • Jetdoc

          My take from it would be that it was directed at the Federal level, but pressuring State politicians to push their Federal brethern for Federal legislation. Basically were not gonna let the State collect taxes from us, without pushing for Federal changes themselves. They’re NOT just gonna sit there and collect our money that were paying for Medical or Recreational marijuana, which by our paying that tax is a direct admission of guilt that WE broke Federal Law. Inside that argument is the “right against self incrimination”, which is protected by the BoR. Does that answer your question?

          I think it’s ALL about pushing for Federal legislation on the issue. Especially if they’re making money off of something that’s Federally illegal. It ALL about pressure.

          Another thing that I believe had an effect on this coming was the DISH Network case too. You’re NOT going to collect my money and then NOT protect my job as well. I think this case had a HUGE role in this coming.

          I don’t think MANY that support legalization really have a problem paying a REASONABLE tax on it if purchased at a dispensary. Home grows are another story. To me that’s no different than planting Corn in my backyard. No taxes, It’s MINE!

          • Bic

            Unless your corn cross-pollinates a neighboring field of patented corn. Then you’ll be sued by Monsanto! And don’t even THINK about saving your seeds for next year. And yes, the Federal government has allowed all of this legislation to go on the books.

          • Jetdoc

            The SAD part is, I KNOW they’ve allowed those on the books. I’m still baffled over the Monsanto thing!

          • Bic

            Big corporations (agribusiness) = Big money. That is why your government has failed you. Dems and Reps alike sit atop Capitol Hill and abuse their power for money. They are deaf to the will of the people as they use their influence to gather personal wealth while they crush the average citizen. In the process, the system is broken.

          • crimsonking

            This will never change unless we are somehow able to remove most of the money from the political process. That’s truly the gateway to real reform in the US government, at all levels. We need short, cheap publicly funded campaigns. I don’t know how we get this done when the ones we need to effect the change are the same ones who benefit so much from this status quo of pseudo-bribery and various revolving doors in industry, but I don’t see how our representatives will ever represent us again until it happens. It’s even gotten worse thanks to our lovely Supreme Court.

          • Bic

            Yeah how bout the recent ruling on no limits to campaign contributions! Are they serious? They don’t even try to justify their outrageous actions anymore. Lets hear it for term limits, getting the lobbyists out of Washington and government back to the state and local level!

          • MrPC

            Term limits sort of work, but they have their issues too. By the time an elected official learns how the government actually works and can be effective, they are term-limited out, and a fresh crop of clueless newbies takes their place.

            I agree that lobbyists should be more restricted and less influential. But don’t forget, there are now some pro-legalization lobbyists working for our side in Washington.

            It’s true that there are plenty of things that state and local governments can do more efficiently and effectively than federal government. But it’s also true that the 21st century world requires a large and effective centralized government. We probably don’t want state representatives in Topeka dealing with China and Russia, for example.

          • crimsonking

            I completely agree that we need to continue to push the Feds, my issue was that this suit would be attacking revenue that states are collecting. That doesn’t do anything for us when it comes to the federal gov. It’s not their dollars disappearing.

            I also understand the intellectual argument being made that you address in your first paragraph and I think it has merit on that level, but I worry that the practical effect would be to endanger the gains we have so recently made with the legalization movement.

            I agree even more with the anger about legalizing something and then not protecting our employment and am equally adamant about the need for home growing options.

            It sounds like we’re on the same page, more or less. I just don’t think it will be helpful to erect a barrier to the collection of taxes for legal cannabis, especially at this weird point we’re at now where it is conceivable still to lose what so recently has been won. It appears that some on this page are conflating state governments with the US government and due to that misunderstanding think we can change Federal law by withholding state taxes.

          • Jetdoc

            I think we’re on the same page just different routes of getting there. The State’s have gotten a glimpse of the revenue that can be made off of this. Almost the same way that Cops have become reliant on money from the Drug War. If we take that money away from them, the STATE’S will push the Federal Govt. for marijuana reform. It’s a backhanded way of getting Hickenlooper to STOP telling the Feds and other States, to hold off and watch what happens in Colorado. Hoping that the Feds step in and remove them off the hook.

            We’re talking about $100M for the State of Colorado this year. THAT $$ can fund A LOT of projects for the State. Take that money AWAY from them and they’re gonna start pushing the Feds to get it BACK!

      • Road Scholar

        There’s always been that brotherhood with cannabis, been over 44 yrs for me. So many good people & the culture has never changed.

    • James

      “No taxation without representation.”

  • Rob Saxe

    It feels like an attempt to put pressure on the feds to change federal law more than an attempt to get out of posting taxes. I agree with bic.. If it’s not that if be surprised.

  • Jason Lightfoot

    I believe that MMJ should be treated in the same regard as any prescription medication and taxed/not taxed accordingly. As for recreational MJ, tax it like alcohol, tobacco ect.

    • Mike Johnson

      Cannabis is medicine, and should not be taxed, it should be free. GOD made cannabis for all of us to use. Overdose is impossible, sleep is the result, rather than death. Can that statement be made of any man made medicine? The only negative experience I’ve ever had with cannabis is the fact that it is illegal! To GOD be the glory!

      • crimsonking

        Right, GOD GOD GOD. In the real world, we have to deal with political and legal realities when it comes to these things. Your fictional deity or your idea of what may be ideal for you doesn’t always win. Cannabis can be virtually free as long as home growing is allowed. That is something that we need to fight for. Tax revenue is an essential part of what has made this movement possible.

  • Choom Gang

    This is the same as the Timothy Leary argument that briefly legalized marijuana, nation wide in the early 70s. Just before they created the DEA.

  • Ursulaem

    Sounds like a way to get it legalized across the board to me. Can’t tax something that is illegal, either make it legal or lose the money. I think it’s GENIUS!!!

    • crimsonking

      Why does anyone think that state tax revenue is going to give us leverage on the federal government? What makes anyone think that if we remove major parts of what we have so recently built that the whole thing won’t simply fall apart? It’s like making a deal with specific planks and then removing one of the biggest ones that was important to the other side and expecting everything else to remain the same. What is the hypothetical aftermath of a win on this suit? Free weed for everyone? C’mon….

    • Jroc6816

      I would have to agree with you Ursulaem, seems like a good argument for total legalization!

  • Mike Johnson

    Cannabis needs to be free. GOD made it for us to use. To GOD goes the glory for this wonderful medicine.

  • crimsonking

    This doesn’t seem to be something that should be supported by the legalization movement. It’s been a high-stakes balancing act for many in this business trying to craft good legislation that would please citizens locally and be regulated enough that the Federal government keeps its interference to a minimum. To remove tax revenue would be to remove a major motivation many had for supporting legalization in the first place. We don’t have enough of a majority when it comes to cannabis to begin overreaching in this manner. Fight for reasonable prices and taxes that will hurt the black market and fight for home-growing rights. Fight drug-testing. Don’t fight for this. It’s a mistake.

  • Uncle Arthur

    I thought in Colorado the deal was too legalize, regulate and tax. Isn’t that what the people voted on?

    • Uncle Arthur

      *to (note to self: proofread!)

      • Alex

        Note, there is an edit button below your comments :).

  • mike1188

    Yes taxes suck. But if it’s the key to nationwide legalization don’t mess it up. The people who support this lawyer need to make sure he dousing have another plan. Another fact to consider is these taxes could lower other taxes, fix roads, I know I could use lower income tax, property tax, gas tax. How about a lower tax base period. If you added colerodos tax collect and times it by 52 states as a nation wide legalization and it lowered other taxes one word Nice…
    As a said taxes suck but to a point needed

    • Jetdoc

      I understand what you’re saying but taxes DON’T go down! Never have, never will! It’s a nice thought but politicians don’t think like you and I. ALL they see is that’s EXTRA MONEY that they can add to your property taxes, gas taxes, road taxes etc… pool of money. They don’t think in terms of… “hey, with this extra money we could lower citizens OTHER taxes.” If you find a politician who thinks like WE do…. VOTE for him!

    • 50 state legal

      52 states? You mean 50. And there seems to be that one person that could f things up for everyone leave it alone for some people with illness this is what keeps them going and has made new jobs for others this attorney is just some greedy as$

  • Alex

    They should make REASONABLE taxes on marijuana, I don’t see them putting a 25% tax on alcohol and alcohol kills people annually.

  • JebusandMaryJane

    This is brilliant! Will the Feds finally have to sit down at the table with us?