IRS

The IRS Has Been Targeting Medical Marijuana Businesses

Facing audits

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The tea party has company. For the past several years, the Internal Revenue Service has been systematically targeting medical marijuana establishments, relying on an obscure statute that gives the taxing agency unintended power. The IRS has been functioning as an arm of justice, employing the U.S. tax code as a weapon in the federal government's ongoing war against legal cannabis.

The majority of Americans favor legalization of marijuana, while 18 states and the District of Columbia have already legalized medical marijuana. But pot businesses in those states are vulnerable to the federal government's strategic application of IRS Code Section 280E, a law enacted in 1982 after a drug dealer claimed his yacht and weapons purchases as legitimate business expenses—and long before medical marijuana was first legalized in California in 1996.