Bipartisan coalition to end taxation double standard

By Betty Aldworth, National Cannabis Industry Association

WCL News — Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) president Grover Norquist and National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith held a press conference to mark the release of a new white paper from ATR entitled Legal Cannabis Dispensary Taxation: A Textbook Case of Punishing Law-Abiding Businesses Through the Tax Code. The paper, published on September 12, calls for reform of Internal Revenue Code Section 280E, which essentially forces medical marijuana providers to pay taxes based on gross receipts rather than income, unlike all other small businesses.

Additionally, the paper details Americans for Tax Reform’s endorsement of H.R. 2240, the Small Business Tax Equity Act, introduced earlier this year by Rep. Blumenauer and strongly supported by the National Cannabis Industry Association. Mr. Norquist also sent a letter explaining his support for H.R. 2240 to House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp.

Smith spoke out strongly against the current enforcement of 280E, which he called “a leftover relic in the tax code that was never intended to apply to small businesses complying with state laws.” Rep. Blumenauer decried the treatment of state-legal cannabis businesses under federal tax laws, noting that “they cannot deduct their business expenses like all other businesses. Then cannot claim advantages like the work opportunity tax credit if they hire a veteran. And they cannot depreciate their American-made irrigation equipment.”

The issue is a classic case of national politics making for strange bedfellows. Blumenauer represents Oregon’s 3rd district, which includes the famously liberal-leaning city of Portland; Norquist rose to fame as the lobbyist who peppered the US Capitol with the Tea Party-inspired pledge not to raise any taxes in the first term of the Obama administration. Yet both men have put aside their erstwhile differences to support the cause of cannabis tax reform. And with the latest Pew Research poll showing strong support for cannabis reform across both major political parties, such bipartisan efforts are likely to only increase for the foreseeable future. — West Coast Leaf News Service

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