IRS targets medical marijuana businesses in government's war on weed

Ariel Shearer in HuffPost: "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."


    1. Actually, I’ve worked at the IRS and I’m absolutely sure nobody there would confuse “Tea Party” with weed. Let’s just say not all Federal agencies have a “zero tolerance” rule.

  1. Call the Drug War what it is, Genocide. I don’t throw the word around lightly and while it MAY be stretching the definition it does fit. It’s a slow genocide, and a survivable one but as a systematic campaign to eradicate specific Cultural and Religious Groups it matches the criteria. I also consider the Canadian Residential Schools to have been a System of Genocide and use it as the basis for using the term to describe policies of cultural destruction without overt policies of mass slaughter. That said, people are dying… the West’s “gentle” Genocide is matched by overt examples in many countries where executions are commonplace.

    1. I can always rely on BB comments to make me feel like an aging Republican shaking my cane at the damn kids on the lawn. 

      1.  Trust a commenter on this site to use the memetic equivalent of a an inheritable disease to critique another comment.

      2. Why?  Because millions of poor and minority Americans are constantly targeted and imprisoned, lives ruined for minor non-violent drug offenses while the wealthy skate by using the same drugs or heavier ones with no negative consequences like a criminal record or jail time?  Shake your cane at that all you want but with incarceration rates for young black Americans in the 20-40% range you look exactly like the caricature you are describing.  It may be a joke to you, but it sure isn’t to the communities and individuals whose lives have been arbitrarily destroyed.  The war on certain classes of people who do certain classes of drugs is a travesty of injustice and given the true scope of destruction it has caused I don’t see genocide as a ridiculous description.

        1. Genocide: the deliberate killing of a large group of people, esp. those of a particular ethnic group or nation.  

          It sounds like the unintentional byproduct of a misguided war on drugs is many unnecessarily ruined lives.  This is very far from the definition of genocide.

          1. “Article II:  In
            the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed
            with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial
            or religious group, as such:

            (a) Killing members of the group;

            (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

            (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated
            to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

            (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

            (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

          2.  But that’s all related to drug law violation, not “a national, ethnical, (sic) racial or religious group”.

          3.  @TheOven:disqus No, as was already pointed out drug law convictions and sentences disproportionately target POC.  That is what we’re discussing.  White folks use drugs at the same or larger rates than POC but are convicted much less often, have much more access to pre-trial diversions and other ways to avoid criminal records, and are sentenced much more leniently.  Try again.

          4. The “national, ethnical, racial or religious group” I believe is being targeted for eradication is the highly diverse mix of cultures that use various Entheogens for the exploration of reality and consciousness. This mix of ancient and modern traditions does not fit neatly into any of the listed categories but I take the view, similar to the interpretation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that not being explicitly listed of protected classes of people does not mean you are not entitled to protection, it just means what is listed are examples. The closest fit is a Religion, though as an unaffiliated Atheist / Pantheist (zero or infinity?) I cannot claim direct membership in a formally defined group. What’s more, even if I wished to join or form such a group the ongoing Legal climate severely curtails the ability to meaningfully organize.
            The racist elements are just an extremely brutal layer on top of the fundamental issue that widespread cultural practices with sincere belief and diligence behind them are targeted for eradication by Governments around the world. I think it’s just as spiritually valid if you eat a cracker and sip some wine to get friendly with Jesus or eat some liberty caps and climb a tree to commune with your monkeybrain.
            The systemic racism within the war on drugs is not why I consider it a Genocide (as horrific as it is), the explicit attempt to eradicate cultures that involve the use of various drugs as a sacrament is.

          5. The intentional effect of the war on drugs was to disenfranchise young black voters, who might otherwise have voted Democrat when Nixon didn’t want them to.  And the effects are still disproportionately aimed at young black people, who are killed or have lives destroyed in cases where rich white people skate by unmolested.

            That’s pretty close to the definition, actually.  It’s pretty mild by the standards of genocide cases, but that’s like saying “pretty shallow by the standards of deep oceanic trenches”; it’s not meaningful to those caught in the way.

      3. “Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.” — Harry J. Anslinger, the first Commissioner of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics

        This fellow kicked it off, and the war-on-drugs-as-a-way-to-persecute-minorities hasn’t let up since he started.

      1.  The ONLY stretch I concede is that I have folded non-religious cultural practices in with religious ones, and even then I don’t think it’s a stretch because otherwise Atheists could be considered a legally valid target for extermination.

  2.  The war on drugs, war on guns, war on the rich.  I am sick of the whole thing.  Why can’t the government just leave people alone to live their lives?  The problem with more government is that government exists to regulate things.  Regulation = things you can’t do.  Let guys own an AK-47, smoke weed, and have civil unions with other guys.  If nobody gets hurt, who cares?    If somebody does get hurt, throw them in jail as an example.  Really, it isn’t that hard.  Instead, the government sees fit to send the most powerful agency after its enemies — wow, what a surprise.  The IRS was not INTENDED to be an arm of vengeance, but any law that can be misapplied, eventually will.

      1. And Occupy was what exactly?  I keep hearing about this 1% vs. the 99%, I guess they were talking about something other than money.

        1. Every other war is one waged by the government against its citizens. Not sure what “war on guns” is supposed to refer to, though.

        2. Occupy could not even remotely be described as a war.  And it certainly wasn’t a war on the rich, it was a protest against the ways in which certain denizens of wall street and many other of the super-wealthy in the USA gained their wealth:  through fraud, criminality and general swindling and usury.  “War on the rich” is a right wing talking point.  If there is a war going on against any class its a war against the poor and middle class, and its being waged by the wealthy.  Warren Buffet himself acknowledged that very fact:
          “There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

          1. It’s like a couple of Cardinals in Rome carrying on about how the Zoroastrians are taking over the city.

        3. You must have a very different definition of war than I do. Or the dictionary does.

          1. Insisting on accountability is the most violent thing you can do to a corporation . . . I guess. Speaking out is just like an ambush. A crowd chanting slogans the equivalent of a poison gas attack. A sit-in is really a drone attack with longer hair.

  3. I think we’re still waiting to hear Atty. General Holder’s opinion on state-based cannabis legalization. Once this occurs, other agencies will have a little more guidance on which way federal policy will swing.

  4. This article confuses me… (not that it takes much).  How are the medical dispensaries being targeted by taxing exactly?  Are they’re being forced to pay more taxes than are due??

    1.  banks wont take dispensaries money or they get hit with money laundering more taxes is part of it .  its legal but unethical to do these things .otherwise known as persecution

  5. So, um, nothing’s really substantiated then? And there’s no evidence of wrongdoing on the IRS’s part?

    Well, who woulda thought it. Stoner paranoia. Again. 

    1. Not allowing legitimate state businesses to take deductions like any other business does is “no evidence of wrongdoing”?

        1.  Care to explain how you came to that conclusion?  You haven’t actually made any argument to support your opinion yet.

          1.  Cannabis is still against the law. Why should those trafficking in it get any special breaks?

          2. What law are you talking about?  Because in the USA there is a conflict between state and federal law on this topic, and its very arguable that the federal government has absolutely no right to make laws that affect intra-state commerce at all.

          3. Is it?


          4. Well, seems like the commenting system on here only tolerates a limited level of dissent, and I’m not going to  allow myself to be drawn into arguing on two fronts by you and your tag-team buddy Ygret. I’ve seen this before from liberals and it’s getting rather tiresome.

            Argue about the so-called ‘conflict’ between state and federal law all you want, or about your precious Bill of Rights. I’m not buying any of it. Do you really expect to sow doubt on whether cannabis is illegal? If so you must have a very poor opinion of those who oppose you, an opinion which is – justifiably – mutual.

          5. Well, seems like the commenting system on here only tolerates a limited level of dissent, and I’m not going to  allow myself to be drawn into arguing on two fronts by you and your tag-team buddy Ygret.

            I’m not sure which is more hilarious: that you think BB configured the replies to suppress “dissent” (rather than the usual “not make comments so narrow that they make the thread unreasonable) or that you’re shocked (SHOCKED!) that two people would disagree with you.

            I’ve seen this before from liberals and it’s getting rather tiresome.

            I’ve seen this (substance-free posturing, failure to make an actual argument, groundless whining about suppression of your oh-so-informed opinion) from conservatives before and it’s getting rather tiresome.

            Argue about the so-called ‘conflict’ between state and federal law all you want, or about your precious Bill of Rights

            My precious bill of rights?  Are conservatives no longer the champions of individual liberties?  I think your mask is slipping.

            I’m not buying any of it. Do you really expect to sow doubt on whether cannabis is illegal?

            There’s no doubt whether it’s illegal.  There is some doubt whether the laws that make it illegal are constitutional in the first place.

            If so you must have a very poor opinion of those who oppose you, an opinion which is – justifiably – mutual.

            Why do you oppose me?  I don’t even know you.  Maybe because you’re a hate-filled reactionary?

          6. Look, I know you’re serious about this kind of thing, and it’s (probably) a good thing that you are. Keen sense of justice and all that, most laudable.

            But I should probably let you know that while you’re getting so terribly worked up about it and raising your blood pressure, I am merely using you to test a hypothesis.

            And the results are… quite fascinating.

  6.  “I also consider the Canadian Residential Schools to have been a System of Genocide”.  It’s really a very recent idea that individuals keep their various minority cultural identities, generation after generation.  The use of the word genocide exaggerates the intent of the well-meaning attempt to assimilate Native People into the predominate culture of the time.  Unfortunately, because of the failure to integrate Natives into an economically progressive society, the reservations have become a trap, a ghetto of corruption, drug and alcohol abuse, violence, lawlessness and general economic despair. 

    1. Not recent.  Look at India.  Or Jews in in Europe for millenia.  Your cultural blinders are showing.  I’m also assuming you aren’t First Nations, so your attempt to trivialize something that many of them do consider genocide (IMO quite reasonably)  comes of as condescending and imperialistic. I doesn’t help that, even as we speak, the Canadian government is continuing the white man’s tradition of breaking treaties with the indians, and taking their land as soon as it’s profitable for someone to extract resources from it.

      1.  Except that in India, the British were simply not able to dominate their culture and the Nazi’s tried to wipe out as many Jews as possible. So I t think the Cannuck has a valid point; Getting to keep your culture when a new one moves in, is a recent development.

        I’m not sure I would define what happened (is happening) in Canada as “well-meaning” though. Not by a long shot.

        1. I wasn’t talking about the brits in India.  I was talking about the multitude of ethnic castes who keep to themselves, despise their neighbors, and don’t intermarry.  They were doing it before the Brits came along, and they’re still doing it now.  There have historically been a few assimilationist cultures/empires, like the Han, the Romans, and America and the rest of the modern Anglosphere, but there have also been numerous situations in which assimilation was specifically forbidden(eg the Hindu caste system, Norman England).  Forced segregation of subjugated peoples is historically at least as common as assimilation.  The Nazis were the last in a long line of Pogroms, throughout which the Jews maintained their culture and didn’t intermarry with gentiles for hundreds of years. 

          1. It was, and now the comment that I was replying to, which wasn’t, has been removed.

  7. Well, taxation is the traditional tool of the Federal government to use for outlawing Marijuana.

  8. When they came for the stoners, I said “good riddance”.  When they came for MY Tea Party, I cried out “It’s an outrage, a persecution!  Impeach the President!”

    Like Richard Pryor said about the little old white lady being driven through the ghetto one day, seeing a couple of crack addicts and saying “Well isn’t that terrible?”, then one white kid in her suburbs is busted with crack, she cries out “Oh My God, it’s an EPIDEMIC!”

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