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The Evergreen

Seattle Times coverage of pot policy, culture and lifestyle.

August 12, 2014 at 5:54 PM

U.S. judge dismisses Washington marijuana tax case

The Associated Press

SEATTLE  — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Washington state’s authority to tax marijuana.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman dismissed the case last week for lack of jurisdiction.

The operator of a medical-marijuana dispensary in Bellingham, Martin Nickerson, sued because he was being simultaneously prosecuted for marijuana distribution and targeted by the state Revenue Department for not collecting taxes on marijuana sales. He argued he couldn’t pay the tax without incriminating himself.

But the judge agreed with the state’s lawyers, who argued that federal law required the case to be brought in state court.

Nickerson’s attorney, Douglas Hiatt, said he filed the lawsuit in federal court because he believes federal judges will ultimately have to decide whether states can regulate and tax marijuana while it remains federally  illegal.

He plans to refile the case in Thurston County Superior Court.

Comments | More in News | Topics: Douglas Hiatt, Marsha Pechma

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