As you know, an overwhelming majority of voters in Alaska, Florida, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. came out to support cannabis during the recently concluded election. It is time for Congress to wake up to this political reality and put its support behind our movement.
As Congress continues working during the “lame duck” session, it is important that you, your fellow employees, your friends, and your family contact Congress and urge them to protect cannabis legislation moving forward over the next few days. We could action being taken on 280E tax reform and Washington, D.C.’s recently approved marijuana legalization law.
Please call your congressional representative and both of your senators to express your support for legislation supporting marijuana and lawful cannabis businesses. Feel free to use the talking points at the bottom of this message to help guide your call.
You can find your representative’s contact information by going to this link and entering your zip code. In addition, use this website to quickly access a link to your senators’ contact information. Feel free to use some of the talking points below to help guide your call.
We have the chance to make history again. Thank you for doing your part to fight for our industry, the people who rely on us, and the voters who have spoken up to support us.
Director of Government Relations
National Cannabis Industry Association
Issues currently before the Congress:
- Currently, the federal government is funded until December 11. Between now and then, Congress needs to pass a budget to fund the government into the next fiscal year. Over the next few weeks, House and Senate leaders will be negotiating the budget details before finally bringing it up for a vote, and this opportunity allows cannabis supporters to do last-minute lobbying on behalf of our bills. As you may remember, earlier in the year, the House of Representatives passed the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment which would restrict the Department of Justice’s ability to enforce federal marijuana laws on state-sanctioned medical marijuana businesses. As we speak, Congressmen Rohrabacher and Farr are circulating a letter in the House of Representatives which will be delivered to budget negotiators, asking them to insert the Rohrabacher-Farr language into the final budget bill. We need members of Congress to sign on to this letter.
- At the end of each year, Congress addresses many expiring tax provisions, which are usually fixed with one big “tax extenders” package. This year is no different and congressional leaders are negotiating which tax provisions will be inserted into broader tax extenders legislation. Although reform of the 280E tax provision that unfairly targets cannabis businesses is not on the table, if enough members of Congress push for it, anything is possible. As more states legalize cannabis, this issue becomes relevant for more members of Congress.
- On November 4, Washington, D.C., voters overwhelmingly supported marijuana legalization (Initiative 71), with 69% voting in favor. But Congress has the oversight authority to veto any decision the District makes. Once the city officially delivers a proposal to Congress, the House and Senate have between 30 and 60 legislative days to block the proposal. This has only happened four times in history, but cannabis supporters need to ensure Congress gets the message and doesn’t interfere with the District of Columbia implementing its own legal regulatory framework.
- None of the above legislation legalizes marijuana in states. It only protects states that have already voted in support of cannabis.
On 280E reform
- Tens of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of tax revenue and economic growth are being created in the cannabis industry and even more would be created if 280E tax reform was addressed.
- The 280E provision of the U.S. tax code prevents many cannabis businesses from writing off standard business expense deductions. These businesses are then stuck with effective tax rates that can run from 50% all the way up to 85%. This is crippling for businesses that are trying to run responsibly, and it drains away money that could be used to create jobs, raise salaries, and boost the local economy.
Here are two national news stories on the problem of 280E to share with your represenatives: “The federal government is taxing marijuana businesses to death” in Vox & “Marijuana profits up in smoke under IRS rules” in USA Today.”
On D.C. legalization
- Congress should stand behind the 69% of D.C. voters and not interfere with the city’s implementation of a legal framework for cannabis.
On the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment
- The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment does not legalize marijuana but simply prevents tax dollars from being spent undermining state medical marijuana laws.