Russia may soon authorize the cultivation of hemp - otherwise known as cannabis sativa - for agricultural and industrial needs, Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service said on Friday.
On September 28, the country’s State Anti-drug Committee will decide whether to allow the cultivation of hemp, currently prohibited in Russia.
Russia was a world leading producer of hemp, used as a source of oil, food, fibers, housing and industrial materials, until 1961 when the Soviet Union ratified the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs which declared cannabis - along with heroin - a highly toxic narcotic.
Russia is currently one of the world’s biggest importers of hemp fibers and oil, the country’s drug control watchdog said in a statement.
In 2007, the government relaxed legislation on the planting of hemp.
Russia is estimated to have at least one million hectares of illegal cannabis, planted mainly on the fringes of the country, in the Far East and Black Sea region. About 2,000 hectares are used to grow hemp, an anti-drug official said.
The official said that a revival of hemp’s industrial usage will help “to create new jobs and reduce social tensions in the regions, which are abundant with illegal wild cannabis.”
In March I noted the double bind faced by the operators of medical marijuana dispensaries vis-á-vis the IRS: Even though their income comes from a business that the federal government deems illegitimate, they can be prosecuted for failing to report it. But if they do file a tax return, they may not deduct their business expenses: Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code says “no deduction or credit shall be allowed for any amount paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business if such trade or business…consists of trafficking in controlled substances…which is prohibited by Federal law.” In effect, medical marijuana suppliers are expected to pay taxes on their gross revenue instead of their profits. Forbes tax columnist Robert W. Wood reportsthat the IRS has confirmed this understanding of the law in response to inquiries from several members of Congress who are understandably concerned that it threatens to put dispensaries in their states out of business. Wood says one way out of this untenable situation is “having two lines of business and segregating their activities”:
One U.S. Tax Court ruling says marijuana dispensaries can legally deduct expenses associated with all activities except dispensing marijuana. See Californians Helping to Alleviate Medical Problems Inc. v. Commissioner. Although this case disallowed the expenses of selling marijuana, it ruled that the dispensary was alsoengaged in the business of care-giving. All thoseexpenses were OK. It turned out only about 10% of the premises were used to dispense marijuana, and that made most of the rent deductible.
The tax issue would still be a problem even if the Obama administration delivered on its promise of forbearance regarding dispensaries, since that policy applies only to drug prosecutions by the Justice Department.
By a 75-43 vote, Washington state Democrats voted Saturday to endorse Initiative 502, which would legalize marijuana with distribution and sales put under control of the Liquor Control Board.
The party’s state committee adopted a resolution claiming that “thousands” of Washington citizens are “arrested, prosecuted and convicted for simple marijuana possession each year, wasting millions of dollars in police, court and jail resources.”
The resolution said legalization would yield the state $215 million each year in much-needed income, with $80 million going to the state general fund and $135 million used for substance abuse control.
Actually, Initiative 502 would break down revenue from marijuana legalization in several ways.
Fifty percent would go to Basic Health Washington, 15 percent to the Department of Social and Health Services for drug abuse treatment, and another 10 percent to DSHS for drug abuse education. Just under 20 percent would go to the general fund and administration.
Unlike Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen (who favors America having a fair and constitutionally consistent cannabis policy…), the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, simply does not get how hypocritical he is by favoring another 74 years of the failed federal Cannabis Prohibition, while at the same time, being a frequent consumer (and longtime political ally) of far more dangerous and deadly drugs like alcohol and tobacco.
What cannabis reformers and consumers really need to do now is to send hundreds of thousands of letters and emails to their members of Congress, and to, like Todd, not take ‘no’ for an answer, especially from hypocrites like Speaker Boehner, who maybe one of the capital’s most notorious tobacco addicts and consumer of hard liquor.