October 13, 2011. Oakland. Last week, the IRS demanded that Harborside, one of California's largest medical marijuana dispensaries, hand over $2.5 million in taxes or close up shop for good. But it's not that Harborside hasn't been paying taxes - it has been paying them dutifully for years. Instead, the IRS decided the dispensary can't claim the same standard tax deductions every other business enjoys, like payroll, rent and workers' compensation.
Medical marijuana facilities under IRS assault
No company can survive with such an unreasonable tax burden, and if the government is allowed to saddle Harborside with this, you can bet other dispensaries will soon be subject to the same absurd tax rule. The result will be dispensaries forced out of business, thousand of jobs eliminated, patients stranded and millions in lost tax revenue for states.
Can you sign our petition to the IRS, demanding they treat medical marijuana dispensaries like normal businesses? Click on the following link to tell the IRS to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to make the same deductions as all other businesses. The assault on patients and providers has to stop now.
As Harborside Director Steve DeAngelo put it, "This is not an effort to tax us. We're happy to pay our taxes. This is an effort to shut us down." The IRS is using an obscure tax code provision from 1982 designed to help the police go after drug traffickers to stop Harborside from taking standard tax deductions that will put the dispensary out of business.
Despite promising to let states self-regulate medical marijuana after taking office, the Obama administration has spent the last three years executing raids and arrests in medical marijuana states across the country. State employees working on implementing marijuana laws are susceptible to federal prosecution for simply doing their jobs. The DOJ even told a group of dispensaries that they had 45 days to close or face federal prosecution as well.
The President's outright dismissal of questions about drug policy reform over the past several years has been accompanied by a vigorous, well-planned campaign against the medical marijuana industry. It's sickening to watch the administration continue to turn a cold shoulder to patients across the country who have suffered and struggled for so long to procure access to their medicine - only to have their rights to good health and comfort thrown to the wayside in favor of belligerent anti-marijuana policies.
Sign our petition above, demanding the IRS allow medical marijuana dispensaries to make the same deduction as all other businesses. The Obama administration is committed to waging war on marijuana and so the possibility of stopping this horrible forward march against dispensaries is a long shot. Nonetheless, we have to make our voices heard and stand up for dispensaries and the patients who depend upon them.
Just Say Now
This isn’t the first assault on legal medical marijuana facilities by the Federal government. Read the last week’s Whiteout Press article, ‘Feds Guilty of their Own Crime on Marijuana’ for the most recent happenings.