For owners of marijuana businesses, April 15 is one big downer, McClatchy Newspapers reports. While most business owners rush to meet the federal tax deadline and cash in on various deductions, pot store owners and growers complain that they can't write off a single expense, even if they have state licenses. They say the law is discriminatory and outdated as more states move to legalize marijuana. “We don't want special favors – we just want to be treated like businesspeople,” said Nick Cihlar of Bellingham, Wa., co-owner of Subdued Excitement Inc., a company that grows marijuana for Washington state retailers.
The ban on deductions by the Internal Revenue Service is in place because Congress has declared every pot transaction a felony crime. Getting the law changed will be difficult, with legalization opponents arguing that it would be a mistake to give the pot industry any tax breaks. “Like any special interest group, they're after one thing: more money. . . . It's particularly audacious to demand that the government allow you to deduct expenses when you're breaking federal law,” said Kevin Sabet of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana. Derek Franklin of the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention said giving a tax break to marijuana businesses would only lower the price of the drug, making it easier to acquire. The idea “doesn't make sense from a public health perspective,” and marijuana businesses should pay more to curb pot use among minors, he said. More than two-thirds of Americans live in states that have approved marijuana use in some form.