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Marijuana Tax Fifth Amendment Hearing
UPDATE (8/22/14): Denver District Court Honorable Judge
John Warren IV denied the request for a preliminary injunction on
a technicality, but said the case had merit enough to move forward.
The judge says the issues are "fascinating" and that he
is "looking forward" to hearing the rest of the case at
trial. On to the next step! Read
John Ingold's coverage at the Denver Post
ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE: There will be a preliminary injunction
hearing in Denver District Court on Friday in a lawsuit brought
by marijuana civil rights activists seeking to protect their Fifth
Amendment right against self-incrimination. Plaintiffs will argue
in front of The Honorable Judge John Madden IV that payment of marijuana
taxes violates a citizen's Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination,
since marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
THE PUBLIC IS ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND THIS HEARING
Date: Friday, August 22, 2014
Time: 9am to 12noon
Location: Denver District Court (Old Building)
1437 Bannock St.
Courtroom #203: The Honorable Judge John Madden IV
Note: Please dress nicely and maintain quiet in the courtroom.
Bring a photo ID with, as you may have to show it to get through
Attorney Robert J. Corry, Jr. filed the lawsuit on June 9, 2014
seeking to permanently end Colorado's marijuana taxes, on the grounds
that payment of the taxes forces citizens to incriminate themselves
as criminals under federal law.
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
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:
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 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):
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Click here to read the complaint
No Over Taxation, et al, v. Hickenlooper, et al
People v. Duleff (Colorado Supreme Court case)
US v. Leary (US Supreme Court case)
Read more about the Fifth Amendment here:
Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project
Denver 420 Rally
Law Firm of Robert J. Corry, Jr.
*Please COPY and REDISTRIBUTE*
Provided as a Public Service by the:
Cannabis Therapy Institute
ACTION ALERT: March 28, 2014
Colorado Proposes Caregiver Limits - Patients Will Suffer
Edibles and extracts supplied by caregivers would be eliminated.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)
is having a "Town Hall" meeting on Friday, March 28 in
Denver to discuss "proposed legislation" to limit patient
and caregiver rights. The CDPHE has refused to supply CTI with a
copy of the "proposed legislation", but the agenda for
the meeting indicates that they want to limit caregivers to cultivating
plants. If passed, this legislation would restrict caregivers' ability
to provide edible cannabis or cannabis extracts like Rick Simpson
Oil, used as a cancer-fighting medicine.
Pot Caregiver Crackdown Rekindled in Colorado
CDHPE MEETING ON CAREGIVER RESTRICTIONS
Friday, March 28, 2014
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Old Supreme Court Chambers
State Capitol Building (2nd Floor)
200 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80203
Also on the agenda for this meeting will be:
- Limit caregivers to 6 plants per patient
- Limit caregivers to 5 patients: This is already in statute, but
CDPHE can make exceptions. It is unclear why this needs to be re-addressed.
- overview of the CDPHE's failed state audit last year
- CDPHE's new policy on medical necessity review: CDPHE has refused
to provide CTI with an advanced copy of this "new policy"
Article XVIII, Section 14 of the Constitution (popularly known as
Amendment 20), states that a caregiver can supply a patient with
whatever amount of medicine is "medically necessary" to
treat their condition. A 6 plant limit per caregiver would abrogate
this Constitutional right.
Proponents of a "caregiver crackdown" claim that there
are caregivers all over the state selling cannabis openly for profit
for multiple patients. If this were true, there are already statutes
in Colorado that limit caregivers to no more than 5 patients each
and prohibit caregivers from
making a profit on their medicine. These laws were part of the HB1284-era
of laws supported by dispensaries in 2010 and 2011, which eliminated
90% of the caregivers in Colorado. If there are any caregivers breaking
the law, they can be prosecuted right now, so there is no need for
Amendment 20 contemplated a compassionate system of medical marijuana
distribution where the patients would be protected from criminal
prosecution, and the medicine would be supplied by caregivers. This
system worked without problems from 2000 until 2009, when the government
With the passage of House Bill 1284 in 2010, the government gutted
the caregiver model for medicinal cannabis distribution, even though
this was the system approved by voters. They forced patients to
shop in Medical Marijuana Centers (which are not caregivers and
therefore not protected by the Constitution). MMCs did not have
the same quality and variety that caregivers provided, so patients
Now with the passage of Amendment 64 (recreational marijuana),
the government wants to shut down the medical program altogether
and force patients to shop in A64-stores, where cannabis is highly
taxed to fund law enforcement, government propaganda campaigns and
some school construction. MMCs are not subject to the A64 40%+ additional
taxes, so patients can find less expensive medicine there.
According to the Denver
Post, the CDPHE meeting on Friday may be being held as a "last-minute
attempt to placate lawmakers, not a genuine attempt to listen to
Indeed, there is evidence of this. The CDPHE's "Town Hall"
Meeting is set from 1pm to 4pm, with the 1:30pm to 3:30pm time slot
allocated exclusively for public comment. So, clearly, the main
purpose of this meeting is for public comment. However, the CDPHE
has done everything they can to make sure attendance at, or even
knowledge of, this meeting is as minimal as
- CDPHE announced the meeting on their website on Monday afternoon,
giving only 4 days notice
- CDHPE scheduled the meeting for Friday afternoon, probably the
worst time of the week if you want to maximize attendance
- CDPHE claims that they sent an email to all those on the email
notification list, but people who are known to be on the list received
no such email
- CDPHE refused to send an email to the 200,000+ active and inactive
patients and caregivers on the Registry, with no explanation why.
- CDPHE deceptively named the meeting a "Town Hall" meeting,
indicating a local city or town was having a discussion, not that
a statewide body was meeting to discuss a statewide issue.
- CDPHE refused to give CTI a copy of the "proposed legislation"
that was to be discussed at that meeting
- No member of the General Assembly will be in attendance at the
meeting, only CDPHE employees. If the purpose of the meeting is
"proposed legislation", why are no legislators going to
WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you would like to attend the meeting, you are certainly encouraged
to voice your opinion in person. But since no one from the General
Assembly will even be in attendance to hear your concerns and the
CDPHE has no authority to propose bills or enact statutes of their
own, who will you be talking to? CTI will be there to report on
what happened at the meeting.
We do encourage you to send an email and have all your friends send
email. It is VERY IMPORTANT that the General Assembly hear your
PLEASE SPEAK OUT TO PROTECT PATIENT RIGHTS!!!
Dear General Assembly:
Please do not enact any laws that restrict the amount of cannabis
that a caregiver is allowed to grow. Many patients need more than
6 plants because their medical condition requires therapies (like
edibles), which are produced with more raw material than 6 plants
can produce. Under A20, a patient is allowed to have whatever amounts
are "medically necessary". A restriction on caregivers'
cultivation will deny patients this Constitutional right.
There is currently no evidence of any widespread problem with caregivers
growing too much medicine. If there were, law enforcement has adequate
tools now to investigate and prosecute caregivers. As you know,
caregivers are already limited to 5 patients and are not allowed
to make a profit, so if there is any problem, it can be addressed
with current laws.
The intent of A20 was to allow a compassionate system of medical
marijuana distribution where the patients would be protected from
criminal prosecution, and the medicine would be supplied by caregivers.
This system worked without problems from 2000 until 2009, when Medical
Marijuana Centers were established and caregivers were restricted.
Many patients don't like to shop at MMCs because of privacy concerns
or because only their caregiver can supply them with the exact type
of medicine they need. MMCs are not part of A20. Caregivers are.
Please don't restrict patient choice any further than you already
PS -- I did NOT get notice of this proposed law from the CDHPE.
I heard about the issue through a patient advocacy group. Please
tell the CDPHE to do a better job of contacting patients and caregivers
about issues that affect them.
CDPHE and Board of Health
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,
Colorado House of Representatives
CDPHE has set up a place to post
your comments online.
Public Service Announcement of the
Cannabis Trade Council
Department of Revenue MITS System Illegally Accesses
Confidential Patient Registry
Marijuana Inventory Tracking System (MITS) Contains
Patients say, "Get your MITS off my meds!"
Health Department Aids DOR in Patient Tracking
Colorado A64 Marijuana and A20 Medical Marijuana
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