Lawsuit claims marijuana taxes violate Fifth Amendment

Lawsuit claims marijuana taxes violate Fifth Amendment

{Denver} — Attorney Robert J. Corry, Jr. filed a lawsuit on June 9, 2014
in Denver District Court seeking to permanently end Colorado’s marijuana
taxes, on the grounds that payment of the taxes violates a citizen’s Fifth
Amendment right against self-incrimination, since marijuana remains illegal
under federal law.

Corry also accuses Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor
Michael Hancock of violating the federal “Kingpin” statute (aka, the
federal law against operating a “continuing criminal enterprise”) for
collecting taxes and laundering money on a federally illegal substance.

The complaint was filed on behalf of an unnamed licensed medical and retail
marijuana center, the “No Over Taxation” issue committee (which campaigned
against Proposition AA, the marijuana tax issue approved by Colorado voters
in 2013) and several individuals, including Kathleen Chippi, Larisa
Bolivar, Miguel Lopez and William Chengelis.

Corry is seeking unspecified damages and a refund of all tax monies
collected by the state.

If successful, Corry’s lawsuit could be the basis for overturning ALL
regulations regarding marijuana licensing and registration in Colorado on
the same grounds. As long as marijuana remains illegal under federal law,
states cannot require people to give any information about themselves in
order to distribute or purchase marijuana. ANY and ALL requirements to
identify oneself would result in a “real and appreciable” risk of
self-incrimination, and would require a citizen to implicate himself in
federal crimes.

Read more about the Fifth Amendment here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

Corry cites a 1973 Colorado Supreme Court case (People vs. Duleff) that
overturned a man’s conviction for “selling marijuana without a license”
because compliance with the licensing requirement would have required that
person to violate his constitutional right against self-incrimination and
reveal a violation of federal law. Corry writes, “The Colorado Supreme
Court held specifically that the Fifth Amendment prohibits state licensing
requirements that force a person to reveal a violation of federal law.”

From the Duleff decision, Corry quotes the Colo. Sup. Ct.:
“The Fifth Amendment prohibits licensing requirements from being used as a
means of discovering past or present criminal activity which is subject to
prosecution by calling attention to the licensee and his
activities….There is no doubt that the information which Duleff would
have been required to disclose would have been useful to the investigation
of his activities, would have substantially increased the risk of
prosecution, and may well have been a direct admission of guilt under
federal law. The Fifth Amendment protects individuals from such compulsory,
incriminating disclosures and provides a complete defense to prosecution.”
— Colorado Supreme Court (1973)

Corry also cites a 1969 US Supreme Court case (Timothy Leary v. United
States) in which the highest court in the country overturned Leary’s
marijuana possession conviction and ruled that the federal Marihuana Tax
Act of 1937 was illegal, due to the fact that a person seeking a tax stamp
and complying with the law would be forced to incriminate himself, in
violation of the Fifth Amendment.

Corry writes, “Marijuana-specific taxes require plaintiffs and any other
person paying said taxes to incriminate themselves as committing multiple
violations of federal law, including but not limited to, participating in,
aiding and abetting, or conspiring to commit a ‘continuing criminal
enterprise’ and ‘money laundering.’ These illegally-collected taxes are
ultimately laundered by the State of Colorado through J.P. Morgan Chase
Bank, which also participates knowingly in the continuing criminal
enterprise.” Item 67, Corry complaint filed 6/9/14.

Corry concludes, “It is illegal for government to retain tax monies
illegally collected in violation of the constitution, so all amounts must
be returned, and all records related to previous tax payments, destroyed.”

Corry asks the Court to:
“Enter a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and/or
permanent injunction ordering the Defendants, and all those acting in
concert with them, to cease and desist from enforcement of the marijuana
tax statutes, to cease and desist from any further collection, deposit, or
laundering of the marijuana taxes, for a full refund of marijuana tax
monies paid by any person or entity, and for destruction of all tax records
and identifying information after full refunds are made.”

“The state can’t have it both ways. If it’s illegal under federal law, you
cannot collect taxes on it,” says Kathleen Chippi, a plaintiff and member
of the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project. “We have another
case pending in the Colorado Supreme Court now, Coats v. Dish Network,
where Colorado Attorney General John Suthers argues that medical marijuana
patients can be fired from their jobs for using medical marijuana off-duty,
even though it is legal under state law. Suthers argues in the Coats case
that, since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, patients have no
rights.”

“Yet Suthers and Hickenlooper, as kingpins in their continuing criminal
enterprise, happily collect and spend the marijuana taxes, even though they
were collected in spite of multiple clear violations of federal law,”
Chippi concludes.

Read Boulder Weekly article on Federal Preemption issues and the Coats v.
Dish Lawsuit (5/22/14):
http://www.boulderweekly.com/article-12900-local-attorney-argues-fed-laws-donrst-apply-to-mmj.html

*FOR MORE INFORMATION*

Click here to read the complaint
No Over Taxation, et al, v. Hickenlooper, et al
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/legal/colorado/propaa.complaint.corry.pdf

People v. Duleff (Colorado Supreme Court case)
http://www.leagle.com/decision/19731754515P2d1239_11697

US v. Leary (US Supreme Court case)
http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/395/6/

Read more about the Fifth Amendment here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project
*DONATE ONLINE*
http://www.cannabislawsuits.com/

Denver 420 Rally
http://420rally.org/

Law Firm of Robert J. Corry, Jr.
http://www.robcorry.com/

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