As Congress wrestles with big budget cuts, marijuana businesses want to help out the federal government with a novel message: Tax us, please. Pot advocates say legalizing the drug and taxing it like alcohol would add billions to the federal treasury, McClatchy Newspapers report. Some analysts dismiss a pot tax bonanza as far-fetched. Still, The idea is stirring serious debate on Capitol Hill.
The Senate Finance Committee included marijuana taxes in an options paper on possible new revenue sources. In the House, one proposal would legalize pot, tax it, and regulate it nationally. The less ambitious Small Business Tax Equity Act would allow the Internal Revenue Service to give breaks on federal income taxes for marijuana businesses. Noting that pot remains a banned substance, Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron said, “If they don't like the fact that they can't take certain tax deductions because they're in an illegal business, then they should go in some other business where they can take tax deductions.”