Rhode Island Gov. Wants to Give Cannabis Industry 280E Tax Workaround

Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee is proposing tax relief for cannabis operators by decoupling state and federal taxes, aiming to alleviate the financial burden imposed by IRS code 280E on the industry, with potential savings estimated in the millions.

Full story after the jump.

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee (D) has proposed decoupling state and federal taxes for cannabis industry operators as a partial workaround for IRS code 280E, Marijuana Moment reports.

The cannabis industry pays an exorbitant amount of taxes as a result of 280E, which prohibits companies from taking normal business tax deductions if their work is tied to a federally prohibited substance (cannabis is still declared Schedule I under the federal Controlled Substances Act).

The governor included the tax relief language as part of his budget proposal for the fiscal year 2025, stating that “Rhode Island would join Massachusetts and Connecticut, and at least 10 other states, in decoupling from this federal policy,” and estimating that the move would save cannabis operators $824,642 in the fiscal year 2025 and $1.7 million in the fiscal year 2026.

The tax relief language is supported by Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) Chair Kim Ahern, who attended the House Finance Committee meeting last week addressing the governor’s budget proposal, the report said. Lawmakers have not yet voted on the budget proposal.

It’s possible the cannabis industry could soon find tax relief at the federal level if the Biden Administration were to either reschedule cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III — as was recommended last year by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — or remove cannabis from the federal drug schedule entirely, a move that was recently suggested by a group of Senate Democrats.

Rhode Island passed its cannabis legalization law in 2022 and the state’s licensed cannabis dispensaries earned more than $100 million in combined medical and adult-use sales during their first full year of adult-use operations.

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