Liggett Group, which has put more than $3.5 million into fighting Proposition EE, on Thursday filed a lawsuit in federal court against the state, alleging that the General Assembly’s legislation calling for higher minimum prices on certain kinds of cigarettes was unconstitutional.
The lawsuit also claimed that House Bill 20-1427 and Proposition EE, which resulted from it, violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and that it was rushed through the Colorado General Assembly and presented to the voters without complying with Colorado’s constitutional requirements.
In the filing, the plaintiffs said the General Assembly made a “backroom deal” with Phillip Morris (aka Altria) to ward off opposition on Proposition EE. Altria spent $12.4 million in 2016 to successfully defeat Amendment 72, which would have increased the taxes on tobacco by $1.75 per 20-pack of cigarettes. The measure failed, 53% to 47%.