Florida GOP State Senator Proposes Tax Relief For Medical Cannabis Businesses

Florida State Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez (R) is seeking to ease the financial burden on medical marijuana businesses by allowing them to claim state tax deductions currently denied by the federal government under an IRS code known as 280E, which prevents legal cannabis businesses from deducting ordinary business expenses, significantly hampering their profitability.

Rodriguez’s proposal would amend Florida’s tax code by allowing medical marijuana operators to claim tax deductions in “an amount equal to an expenditure that is eligible to be claimed as a federal income tax deduction but is disallowed because marijuana is a controlled substance under federal law,” according to the proposed bill, reported Marijuana Moment.

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The Florida bill comes as the state Supreme Court weighs whether voters will decide on adult-use legalization in a 2024 ballot. While the legislation currently excludes recreational businesses, it highlights Florida’s growing acceptance of cannabis and its economic potential.

The push for tax parity stems from the recognition that the current system stifles the cannabis industry’s growth and hinders its contribution to state tax revenues.

Murky Tax Stance

The IRS’s position on 280E remains murky, offering limited guidance and leaving businesses in a tax grey area. Rescheduling marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act would automatically remove the 280E barrier. Thought the DEA has yet to act on an August recommendation by the Dept. of Health and Human Services to reclassify cannabis.

Similar efforts are underway across the country. New York, Pennsylvania, Maine, Illinois, Connecticut and New Jersey have all implemented state-level tax workarounds for marijuana businesses. At the congressional level, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) argues that allowing full deductibility could boost tax collection by encouraging businesses to comply with the law.

He told Marijuana Moment that he’s “absolutely convinced when we are able to fully deduct their business expenses that there actually will be more revenue collected because people will comply fully with the law.”

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