A federal lawsuit is challenging Washington state's authority to tax marijuana as long as marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
The case arises from the state's attempt to collect sales taxes from a medical marijuana dispensary, but the lawyer who filed it late Thursday says it has implications for Washington's ability to collect taxes under its scheme for the production and sale of recreational marijuana, too.
Douglas Hiatt is representing the dispensary operator, who is simultaneously being prosecuted for marijuana distribution and targeted for not collecting taxes on the pot he was allegedly distributing. Hiatt says his client can't pay the tax without incriminating himself in the criminal case.
The author of Washington's recreational pot law, Alison Holcomb, disagrees. She says she doesn't expect the lawsuit to get very far.