Colorado attorney Rob Corry recently asked for a temporary restraining order to halt tax collection while the matter is considered, but Denver District Court Judge John Madden rejected that request at Friday’s session. The ruling disappoints Corry, but he’s optimistic about the case’s future and feels plenty of interesting information came out — including, he says, the admission by city and state reps that anyone buying marijuana in Colorado is incriminating themselves in the eyes of the federal government.
As Corry said in June, when the suit (on view below) was originally filed, “The primary cause of action is based on the Timothy Leary case before the U.S. Supreme Court:” — a reference to 1969’s Leary v. U.S. “That case struck down the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 after Leary successfully argued to the court that payment of a marijuana tax was a violation of the Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.”
Arguing against this interpretation were representatives from Colorado Attorney General John Suthers’s office — and according to Corry, “it was fascinating to see them basically discounting the importance of federal law and minimizing the federal violation, which is a major shift in the way they’ve looked at marijuana. And in my opinion, it’s a positive shift that’s been a long time coming. For years, they’ve argued that federal law trumps our state system and that our state system was somehow invalid because of federal law. But at least selectively, they’re not really embracing federal law anymore.”
The operative word in the last sentence is “selectively.” Corry notes that a different interpretation is at the heart of the AG’s approach to Dish v. Coats, a case before the Colorado Supreme Court. At the center of this controversy is Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic who was fired from his position with DISH for failing a drug test even though he’s a licensed medical marijuana patient — and in this instance, the state has argued that because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, Coats’s firing was lawful despite his cannabis use being legal in Colorado.
Read the rest at the Denver Westword.