When the group recently announced it would be holding its annual lobby day this year on May 16, more than 300 members signed up to fly in more than twice as many as last year to press the industrys case on Capitol Hill. medical interviewView photos Part of this years pot industry lobby day agenda will be to play defense against any possible moves by Sessions. In the worst-case scenario, says West, the Justice Department could rescind the Cole memo and direct prosecutors to start cherry-picking businesses tied to the legalized pot trade by suing landlords that lease to them, for example or even raiding dealers themselves for violations of federal law. But she says her groups members are not panicking. An even bigger part of this years agenda will be to play offense: pressing for changes in Treasury Department rules that would, for example, permit federally regulated banks to accept the business of marijuana dispensaries. (Right now, most wont, out of fear of being accused of accepting income that is illicitly gained under federal law, forcing most dispensaries to do all their business in cash.) The other top-of-the-agenda item is the Curbelo-Blumenauer tax bill a big-ticket issue for the legal weed industry. As a result of a 1981 court case involving a convicted cocaine trafficker, businesses involved in selling illegal drugs under the Internal Revenue Service code are barred from taking the same standard deductions for rent, office equipment, depreciation and the like that any other business does. The pot industry badly wants that changed and Norquist and Curbelo have a strategy to help them do it: Push the measure as part of a tax overhaul package, arguing that the current rule is a job-killer that amounts to a 35 percent sales tax on legal weed. I do think its a candidate for inclusion, said Curbelo, who conveniently sits on the Ways and Means Committee and is positioned to make it happen. This legislation is without question consistent with the goal of Ways and Means Republicans of simplifying the tax code and making it more coherent and more fair. (A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sen.
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