Grover Norquist

Prominent conservative activist and Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist is going to help fight to solve medical marijuana dispensaries tax problem. The ATR is one of the most powerful political groups on the right.

The issue is that the federal government still classifies marijuana a Schedule I drug, meaning it is still illegal for recreational or medical use under federal law. So a provision of the tax code that is meant to prohibit criminal organizations that sell illegal drugs from deducting normal business expenses on their federal taxes has now been applied to state-approved medical marijuana dispensaries. This can create a crippling tax burden.

To fix this clearly unfair treatment of dispensaries the ATR has written a letter of support for Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-OR) “Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2013.”

This is a remarkable example of how marijuana policy reform is going mainstream. This is not the ATR fully jumping on board the marijuana movement. The ATR simply realizes there is a group of taxpayers clearly being discriminated against, so the ATR is doing what they would normally do in such circumstances. To the ATR this is an important issue of basic tax fairness, which just happens to relate to marijuana.

Not too long ago anything even related to marijuana was considered a political third rail, especially for conservative groups and politicians. Now it is being viewed as just another legitimate industry which should be subject to the same basic tax, safety, and employee policy fights as all the other ones.

Photo by Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons license

Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at