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IRS Official Forecasts Nationwide Legalization
Speaking to a business-to-business webinar, an official with the Internal Revenue Service predicted the eventual nationwide legalization of marijuana.
That’s IRS Commissioner of the Small Business/Self Employed Division Eric Hylton, who appeared on the webinar as part of the IRS’s ongoing efforts to educate new marijuana businesses about their tax responsibilities.
One major problem for marijuana businesses is the continued prohibitions on taking ordinary business deductions, under a regulation called 280E. Hylton explains:
Feds Move to End Student Aid Disqualifications for Drug Convictions
The federal omnibus bill to fund the government contains a provision to eliminate the practice of disqualifying students from receiving federal aid due to a drug conviction.
The Higher Education Act was passed in 1966 under President Lyndon Johnson. In 1998, Section 484r was added, banning students from receiving Pell Grants, federally-backed student loans, and other federal forms of student assistance, if convicted of a drug crime.
Its creation and the resulting devastation to students’ lives were important factors in the founding of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. The omnibus spending bill simply strikes that section.
Maine Cannabis Company Sues to End Residency Requirements
The largest cannabis company in the Pine Tree State is suing to overturn a requirement that medical marijuana dispensary owners must be state residents, according to the Portland Press-Herald.
Wellness Connection of Maine successfully sued in federal court earlier this year over the residency requirement for investors in the state’s recreational dispensaries.
A recent change in state law allowed Maine’s medical marijuana dispensaries to convert from nonprofits to for-profit companies as long as the owners lived in Maine.
In this lawsuit, as they did earlier this year, the plaintiffs argue that it is unconstitutional to prohibit out-of-state residents to obtain the licenses needed to grow, manufacture, or sell medical marijuana.
“The residency requirement harms both non-residents and Maine dispensaries … by arbitrarily limiting the universe of potential investors and business partners available to these businesses,” the lawsuit states.
Other states have abandoned their residency requirements without being sued for those very reasons. Alaska maintains a prohibition on out-of-state investors, and it has not been challenged.
Missouri Judge Rejects Challenge to License Caps
In rejecting a lawsuit challenging the statewide limit on licenses, Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce ruled that Missouri’s regulations are appropriate and do not violate the state constitution’s Right to Farm, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Missouri has set a limit of 192 dispensary licenses, 24 for each congressional district. There have been well over 1,100 dispensary applications filed, leading some to file suit to repeal that limit.
Others among the 500 companies seeking to grow medical cannabis have filed suit over the limit of 60 statewide cultivation facilities, complaining that runs afoul of the state’s Right to Farm laws.
Rhode Island Centrists Change Tune on Legal Marijuana
The changing dynamics regarding marijuana politics have caused two Rhode Island Centrist Democrats to come around to supporting marijuana legalization.
Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey spoke with the Providence Journal Monday. Ruggerio, who last year said, “if we can’t handle medical marijuana, there is no way we can enforce the laws for legalization,” has now put McCaffrey in charge of fleshing out a potential recreational marijuana program.
While Governor Gina Raimondo has proposed creating state-controlled marijuana stores, similar to New Hampshire’s liquor store model, McCaffrey would rather see a system of private stores, similar to what exists in Massachusetts.