Conservatives Fight Marijuana Taxation

Sep 12, 2013

In front of the U.S. Capi­tol Thurs­day, two con­gress­men dis­cussed H.R. 2240, the Small Busi­ness Tax Equity Act, a lit­tle known bill intro­duced in June by Ore­gon Demo­c­rat Earl Blu­me­nauer to allow deduc­tions and cred­its relat­ing to expen­di­tures for mar­i­juana sales con­ducted in com­pli­ance with state law. The bill, accord­ing to Gov​Track​.Us, has a 0% chance of being enacted and has a tiny chance of even get­ting out of the House Ways and Means com­mit­tee. The main rea­son it has reached national atten­tion is Grover Norquist, the Pres­i­dent of Amer­i­cans for Tax Reform, who has cor­ralled 219 Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and 39 Sen­a­tors to pledge to oppose any and all tax increases. He has taken up the no-tax-penalty-for-pot cause. Norquist—who has “No, absolutely not” ever smoked the stuff—believes that fed­eral encroach­ment on the nascent field of state reg­u­la­tion of mar­i­juana is a deeply seri­ous topic, irre­spec­tive of the drug’s effects. “There’s always a slight gig­gle fac­tor on the issue deal­ing with mar­i­juana,” said Norquist. “That said, this is tax pol­icy, this is real stuff. This is impor­tant. This is every­thing from jobs to whether the fed­eral gov­ern­ment comes in and writes rules that upsets the apple cart in many, many dif­fer­ent states.” The fact that tax­ing mar­i­juana has become an issue of debate is a sign of the suc­cess of cannabis advo­cates. In August, the Admin­is­tra­tion said it would not chal­lenge laws legal­iz­ing mar­i­juana in Col­orado and Wash­ing­ton, so long as the they imple­ment “strong and effec­tive reg­u­la­tory and enforce­ment sys­tems to con­trol the cul­ti­va­tion, dis­tri­b­u­tion, sale, and pos­ses­sion of mar­i­juana,” accord­ing to a Jus­tice Dept. memo. Mar­i­juana is still, how­ever, ille­gal under U.S. fed­eral law. Norquist, who says the “dou­ble tax­a­tion” of mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries received his atten­tion a cou­ple of months ago, says the legal issue should be decided state by state, but as a tax issue there should be no doubt: legal cannabis dis­pen­saries should be able to claim the expense deduc­tions that any other legal busi­ness can claim. ” In Col­orado and some of these other states, mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries are just legal busi­nesses. They should be treated that way. But fed­eral law makes that dif­fi­cult to impos­si­ble,” says Norquist. “We’ve got to take the IRS out of this issue.” The press brief­ing, spon­sored by National Cannabis Indus­try Asso­ci­a­tion, also fea­tured Blu­me­nauer and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can. Blu­me­nauer believes that this issue could be a step­ping stone for a greater goal: com­pre­hen­sive tax reform. ”I think com­pre­hen­sive tax reform is not some­thing that is beyond our reach, but it is a heavy lift,” said Blu­me­nauer. “It would be nice to do a lit­tle momen­tum build­ing, and have peo­ple work together on things that are com­mon sense and have bipar­ti­san sup­port. And this is a clas­sic exam­ple.” While Blu­me­nauer believes this is a “sim­ple fix,” he admits that it could be awhile before a busi­ness can claim a tax deduc­tion in its sale of mar­i­juana. “What we’re doing first is build­ing the under­stand­ing of this issue and its sup­port,” says Blu­me­nauer. “But I think that this is a per­fect item that can be dropped into any tax vehi­cle going for­ward.” Source: Time Mag­a­zine (US) Author: Alex Rogers Pub­lished: Sep­tem­ber 12, 2013 Copy­right: 2013 Time Inc. Con­tact: letters@​time.​com Web­site: http://​www​.time​.com/​t​i​me/

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Con­ser­v­a­tives Fight Mar­i­juana Taxation

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