Banking, Taxes, and Marijuana

Banking, Taxes, and Deductions: Three Bills Push for Marijuana Parity

Marijuana-related businesses received critical support last week as more U.S. senators agreed to throw their support behind three essential bills.

Undeterred by the ominous smoke signals from the Trump administration, H.R. 2215 (Safe Act of 2017), H.R. 1823 (Marijuana Revenue and Regulations Act), and H.R. 1810 (Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2017) all received new cosponsors.

H.R. 2215 – Safe Act of 2017

A bill to allow marijuana businesses’ unfettered access to America’s financial institutions received three new cosponsors last week. Now with 35 cosponsors, H.R. 2215 seeks to reform federal banking rules and stop regulators from unjustly coercing U.S. banks from servicing the legal marijuana business sector. If passed, H.R. 2215 would “create protections for depository institutions that provide financial services to cannabis-related legitimate businesses, and for other purposes.”

H.R. 1823 – Marijuana Revenue and Regulations Act

Intended to “amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for the taxation and regulation of marijuana products,” H.R. 1823 has accumulated two new cosponsors since last Monday. Focusing on inventory, packaging, labeling, and record maintenance, passage of the bill would create a federal tax structure for the legal marijuana industry.

H.R. 1810 – Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2017

Allowing for reasonable deductions and credits in relation to expenditures connected with marijuana sales, H.R. 1810 seeks to modify the existing 280E tax penalty on marijuana businesses. Gaining two new cosponsors last week, this critical piece of legislation now has the support of 14 in total.

The tides of change: While the cannabis plant and its psychotropic cannabinoids are currently legal in 25-plus states for medicinal or recreational purposes, the feds still view the beneficial herb as an illegal narcotic and a highly dangerous substance. When Obama was POTUS, regulators provided financial institutions guidance on working with cannabis-related businesses – helping them remain compliant under federal law. Intimidated by the federal guidance, most financial institutions cut ties with the marijuana sector, complaining that conforming to the extensive requirements was too expensive and provided no assurance they would not be prosecuted at some point in the future.

Dangerously hypocritical, the current situation leads dispensaries to either deal in all cash transactions or lie about the true nature of their business to banks. Ultimately, this policy has led to public-safety issues and serious legal risks for the dispensary owners.

Reaching across the political aisle, the senators cosponsoring these three bills have attempted passing similar legislation before and have gained increasing support with each attempt.

Special thanks to: MONTEREY BUD of

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