Fair Tax Policy
NCIA is leading the charge to ensure that state-sanctioned cannabis businesses will someday be able to take the same tax deductions as any other legitimate businesses. Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code prohibits businesses involved in “drug trafficking” from deducting normal business expenses from their gross income. This policy is being unfairly applied to medical and adult-use cannabis dispensaries operating legally under state law, resulting in their federal tax burden being significantly higher than that imposed on any other business. This provision threatens the viability of state-licensed cannabis providers, potentially leading to the loss of valuable jobs and tax revenues. As a result of NCIA’s work, legislation addressing this problem is now pending in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. If approved, the Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2015 (S. 987 & H.R. 1855) will exempt state-legal cannabis businesses from Section 280E. NCIA is working with members of Congress to build support for this important legislation on Capitol Hill and in the public arena. Read more about the crushing burden of Section 280E here.
Equal Access to Banking
Nobody benefits when legal cannabis businesses are unable to work with financial institutions. A large number of banks in this country are reluctant or simply not willing to work with entities involved in the sale of cannabis, even when those sales are legal under state law. This is causing major difficulties for thousands of business owners and state tax collection agencies forced to operate on a cash-basis. NCIA is dedicated to finding a solution to this problem by supporting legislation that will give all banks the confidence they need to work with cannabis businesses. NCIA advocated for the introduction of the “Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act of 2015,” which provides a safe harbor to financial institutions doing business with state-legal cannabis providers. We are building support for H.R. 2076 in Congress and advocating for the introduction of a similar bill in the U.S. Senate. We are also continuing to work with a variety of interested parties to push for an administrative solution to this problem.
NCIA is working to allow states to establish their own systems for regulating cannabis without federal interference. While we are likely a number of years away from the end of federal marijuana prohibition, now is the time to push the conversation forward. By promoting the benefits of the cannabis industry, both for consumers and the economy, NCIA is gradually undermining institutional support for prohibition. NCIA is supporting a number of current bills in Congress, including the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015” (H.R. 1940) and the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2015” (H.R. 1013).
Security For Existing Cannabis Businesses
The Obama administration took an important step forward in August 2013, when the Department of Justice issued a memo directing U.S. Attorneys not to direct resources toward prosecuting individuals and businesses acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. But some U.S. Attorneys are openly defying this policy by continuing to threaten state-legal cannabis businesses with criminal action and civil asset forfeiture. NCIA is ensuring that members of Congress and top administration officials appreciate the importance of the industry through direct lobbying and education efforts leading toward the day when state-legal businesses will be treated justly under federal law. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act (S. 683) was introduced by Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) in 2015, and a companion bill was also introduced in the House (H.R. 1538). NCIA supports this legislation, which would extend the principle of federalism to state medical marijuana policy, provide access to medical marijuana for patients in need, and enable research into the medicinal properties of marijuana.
Legal Cultivation of Industrial Hemp
NCIA supports the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 (S. 134) and any measure to end the nonsensical ban on hemp cultivation in this country.
Protection For Cannabis Accessory Businesses
NCIA supports the repeal of the federal Drug Paraphernalia statutes and U.S. Customs policies that harm businesses providing safe cannabis consumption accessories. Massive federal actions like 2003’s Operation Pipe Dreams must become a relic of the past.
Improving Public Perception
NCIA is working to improve the American public’s perception of cannabis, cannabis consumers, and the industry that serves them. By seizing upon media opportunities in a timely fashion and elevating the voices of our members, we are changing the way the public views cannabis businesses. Educating the public on the value the legal cannabis industry brings to the U.S. economy and society as well as its relative safety and efficacy as a medicine and wellness product is key in our efforts to reform federal law.
Promoting Industry Best Practices
NCIA strongly encourages responsible and socially conscious business practices for the cannabis industry. This includes general guidelines for effective and responsible marketing practices and promoting a culture of community engagement within the industry.