(Photo credit: Jeff Mapes of The Oregonian)
Progressive Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer has been a longtime marijuana law reformer, working to improve our laws since the early 1970s. It is no surprise when he speaks out on marijuana issues, even when he reaches across the political divide to recruit conservatives (like anti-tax activist Grover Norquist) and Republicans (like Rep. Dana Rohrabacher) to the cause. United States Senator Ron Wyden, on the other hand, is known as a moderate, pragmatic politician who doesn’t tackle controversial issues. Representative Blumenauer pulled off an important political feat to bring Sen. Wyden to the fold as the two Oregon Congressmen seek 280e marijuana law reform that would allow state-regulated cannabis businesses to deduct the normal and customary expenses, just as any other legal business.
Jeff Mapes (who I can’t thank enough for snapping the photo that is the featured image on this blog post) from The Oregonian reports:
Blumenauer said an increasing number of businesses in states that allow marijuana sales – either for recreational or medical use – are finding that they are paying tax rates as high as 70 percent, which can be three or four times the rate paid by other businesses.
“That’s a pretty staggering and unnecessary burden,” said Blumenauer, arguing that it severely inhibits the ability of the industry to grow and create jobs.
“I think this is a simple question of tax fairness for these businesses,” Wyden added.
When pressed, Senator Wyden wouldn’t admit to voting for Measure 91, Oregon’s legalization law, stating that his personal opinion wasn’t the issue as he merely wants the will of the voters implemented effectively. While I was secretly hoping that the senator would state his support for the legalization measure, it is equally impressive to see an elected official standing up for the rights of voters, regardless of his or her own position. Having this important legislation filed in both houses of Congress is important to bring cannabis businesses closer to fair treatment under our IRS tax laws. While we have a ways to go, today marked a personal milestone for me as I was honored and humbled to have joined these two pioneering politicians as they stood up for the cannabis industry and the will of the voters.