The Federal Government Can and Does Tax Marijuana Despite Treaties

You hear it suggested that the Federal Government can’t tax marijuana, because a network of treaties, listed below, keeps us from legalizing it.  Well, what about Code section 280E, which imposes a Federal tax on state-legal marijuana growers by denying most business deductions?  It brings in revenue as surely as an excise tax based on weight, potency, or price would.  Taxpayers are chafing at and paying this tax today.  Maybe an excise tax would not be treaty-legal, but who among supporters of the treaty’s goals would argue for repeal of 280E?


The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961) as amended by the 1972 Protocol

The Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971)

The Convention Against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988)


Author: patoglesby

From 1982 to 1990, I worked in tax policy for Committees of the United States Congress. In recent years, I was Adjunct Lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill's Business School and then Adjunct Professor at its Law School.

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