Congressional Leaders Move to Protect Marijuana Industries in Home States

It’s part of a Congressional leader’s job to take action in Washington D.C. to protect businesses and industries that are important to one’s home state.
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However, our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know it’s only been recently that Congress has taken to protecting the marijuana industry – both medical and recreational, depending on the state laws.

In early June, members of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado held a joint press conference just outside the Capitol, advocating legislation that would allow marijuana businesses that are legal in their states to be granted the right to take standard federal tax deductions.

As it stands right now, marijuana cultivators and retailers are not eligible for an array of deductions, such as wages and rent, when they are tabulating their federal taxes. If they hire a veteran, they aren’t allowed to claim the work opportunity tax credit. They can’t get credit for irrigation systems they purchase from American manufacturers.

The result is that most marijuana dispensaries end up paying double what other business owners do. In some cases, dispensary owners have had to dip into their retirement and 401(k) savings in order to continue to operate.

This of course belies the misconception that these individuals are in it for the vast profits. The problem is that for those who want to do everything on the up-and-up, it becomes cost prohibitive – which is no doubt the intention of those who oppose marijuana tax reform.

Changing this would be a huge benefit not only to medical marijuana facilities, but also to local economies and to patients, who would ultimately see a reduction in the overall price of their medications.

In addition to those standard tax exemptions, the lawmakers say their fellow legislators have a duty to alter federal banking laws so that marijuana enterprises aren’t forced to operate as cash-only businesses.

A separate federal measure has also been introduced that would protect medical marijuana facilities from federal civil forfeiture action, by which the U.S. Justice Department moves to seize property in which marijuana dispensaries operate, pursuant to clause in the Controlled Substances Act that was never intended for this purpose.

All three of these actions are going to prove critically important as we press forward on this together as a nation. We have 20 states plus Washington D.C. that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. Two other states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized the drug for recreational use. This is not a fringe movement. We are not going away.

The Congressmen were joined by National Cannabis Industry Association members. There were men and women in professional business suits and ties. These were individuals who were there to display their commitment to a legal, workable system that would provide safe access for patients and equality for those entities that exist to help them.

Still, we recognize these are uphill battles. Thus far, only a handful of Republicans have backed these efforts.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
Marijuana industry gets a little help from its friends in Congress, June 5, 2013, By Kent Hoover, Business Journal
More Blog Entries:
Study: Medical Marijuana Laws Don’t Contribute to Teen Drug Use, June 21, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog