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Tax preparers OK to work with RMJ; bills coming and going; more 

CannaBiz

Toking & taxes

It's tax season, and the IRS' Office of Professional Responsibility has some guidance for tax-prep professionals working with recreational marijuana retailers.

According to Kathy Bylkas, an enrolled agent for the Springs agency Your TaxLady, businesses can deduct expenses for growing and wholesale costs, but not retail costs — advertising, sales staff, etc. So long as tax preparers don't help marijuana retailers reclassify retail costs as wholesale, and so long as all income gets declared, she says the IRS won't punish tax preparers for working with dispensaries.

Pot & politics

It's not exactly a call for reclassification, but it's notable that in a Feb. 4 interview with CBS, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said, "There is some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms that marijuana can be helpful." He noted that his position is based on available data, and that he hopes to see more research on marijuana as a medicine.

"I think that we have to use that data to drive policy decisions," Murthy said, "and I'm very interested to see where that takes us."

Weed & welfare

On Monday, Feb. 9, the Colorado Senate passed a bill to ban withdrawal of EBT funds from ATMs at dispensaries and strip clubs. The bill, SB15-65, is currently waiting for House of Representatives approval.

Last year, a similar bill was defeated by House Democrats, who were concerned about people living in poor neighborhoods with limited access to ATMs, according to a January 2014 Pueblo Chieftain article.

The bill's sponsors told the Denver Post they were concerned that Colorado might lose some federal welfare funds if it could be proven that said money was going to marijuana. Rep. Dan Nordberg, R-Colorado Springs, the bill's main House sponsor, told the Post he doesn't think the Democrats' concern about poor neighborhoods with limited access to ATMs outside of dispensaries is valid.

According to a Feb. 6 FOX21 story, no marijuana industry group has taken a stance against the bill.

Marijuana & maternity

The Colorado House Committee on Public Health Care and Human Services has indefinitely postponed a bill — HB15-1036 — that would require dispensaries to warn consumers about the risks of using marijuana while pregnant. Specifically, the bill would mandate standardized signage, and "prohibit a medical marijuana center agent or employee from recommending medical marijuana to a pregnant woman."

According to tweets from Kristen Wyatt of the Colorado Associated Press, the sponsor, Rep. Jack Tate, R-Centennial, has agreed to pull his bill and try again.

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