Advocates recently gathered in front of the U.S. courthouse in Sacramento in protest of the federal crackdown on the medical marijuana industry in Los Angeles and elsewhere. These medical marijuana advocates believe that this crackdown is a direct assault on “responsible corporate citizens” who contribute their earnings to state tax coffers, according to The Sacramento Bee.
State Board of Equalization member Betty Yee also joined in the efforts. The state’s tax agency member also blasted an outrageous tax from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, the state’s largest medical marijuana dispensary. The IRS hit the company with a tax of more than $2 million. Yee also condemned the IRS for using federal anti-drug trafficking statues to deny Harborside Health Center and other dispensaries business deductions.
Our San Bernardino medical marijuana lawyers understand that dispensaries in the area operate just like any other business. They have rules, regulations, policies and other issues. But the law requires that they operate as a non-profit. These companies are required to share the costs within closed groups of registered medical marijuana patients. If these companies are shut down and sent packing, the state will lose out on millions of much-needed tax dollars. The medical marijuana industry is a thriving industry that has the ability to contribute back to our economy when properly nursed. Officials are urged to embrace these companies and work alongside them to better the state, to better deserving patients and to provided much needed jobs to California residents.
“Dispensaries are following regulations paying their taxes,” said Yee.
Yee’s State Board of Equalization is expected to receive around $100 million is sales tax from medical marijuana companies.
The four U.S. attorneys in California aren’t on board though. They say that the state’s dispensaries are making one heck of a profit, which is violation of the country’s medical marijuana laws. These federal officials have pushed to close the shops, sending out threatening letters to property owners where these shops rent. These letters have threatened property seizure and/or criminal prosecution if the companies are not asked to leave.
“The crackdown is counter-productive. It’s irrational and it’s going to drive this business underground,” said Yee.
Yee’s Board serves more than 20 counties from Del Norte to Santa Barbara. She says that the IRS needs to focus more attention on “the real tax scofflaws” and leave these tax paying companies alone.
According to Benjamin Wagner, a U.S. Attorney in Sacramento, federal authorities are targeting large commercial medical marijuana operations and not the patients individually. He says that the feds have no intentions of prosecuting those who are seriously ill.
Approximately 200 people showed up the protest at the U.S. courthouse in Sacramento. These protesters say that this federal crackdown isn’t only taking vital medicine to deserving patients, but it’s taking thousands of jobs from California and harming the local economy.
The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Southern California. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Medical marijuana backers rally against federal crackdown, by Peter Hecht, The Sacramento Bee
More Blog Entries:
Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Santa Ana Closed by Local Officials, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, November 8, 2011
Officials Look to Redesign Feds Outlook on Medical Marijuana in Los Angeles and Elsewhere, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, October 31, 2011