A recent article from The Hill describes Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer’s alliance with anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist to revise how the IRS treats business expenses paid by registered medical marijuana clinics.

Under 26 USC § 280E, dispensaries may take no deductions or credits for any business activity consisting of “trafficking in controlled substances…which is prohibited by Federal Law…” This means that even here in Oregon, where medical marijuana is available, the entirety of gross profits from dispensary activities are subject to federal income tax.

The fact that this issue unites one of Congress’ most liberal members with one of its most conservative lobbyists is indicative of how far this issue has come in a very short time. Even incremental changes in the tax code may have far-reaching effects on Oregon’s economy, across a wide-variety of sectors.

As business attorneys, we can’t help but be excited about the opportunities this represents for entrepreneurs, and as someone who watched first-hand the devastation wrought by a declining timber industry, I’m especially hopeful more progressive policies will be a boon to struggling rural portions of our state.