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Lawsuit seeks to bar Washington state from collecting pot taxes

May 10, 2014 07:11

A federal lawsuit filed this week challenges Washington state's ability to tax marijuana sales given the drug's illegal status under federal law.

The suit was filed on Thursday by a medical marijuana producer who is both under prosecution for the criminal sale of pot and facing demands from state officials that he pay taxes on those sales.

The suit claims that forcing Martin Nickerson to pay more than $62,000 in taxes would violate his constitutional right against self-incrimination. It also questions whether federal laws preempts the state from collecting taxes on pot.

Nickerson's attorney, Douglas Hiatt, is a longtime Seattle-area marijuana activist who opposed the successful 2012 effort to legalize the drug in Washington state.

Hiatt, who did not return messages seeking comment, has said that meaningful marijuana reforms must flow from erasing existing pot laws that criminalize the drug's production, sale and use.

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