The marijuana industry is still in its infancy -- While the industry has brought in billions, some outside forces are attempting to break down the progress.
After a few years of celebrating the progression of marijuana legalization, the current administration is throwing up some roadblocks. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently passed a decision to allow federal prosecutors to go after marijuana businesses in areas where marijuana is legal.
We all know by now that Sessions is staunchly against the plant, so this decision was hardly a surprise. But is the administration willing to circumvent states' rights for a larger agenda? Vice recently interviewed LivWell Enlightened Health's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Neal Levine, to get his thoughts on the decision, and what he, as a leader in the industry, aims to do about it.According to Vice, Levine has been anticipating this decision. Pushback on the marijuana industry isn't a new trend, obviously, so it makes sense that those invested in the industry would expect a move like this from an official that is so strongly against marijuana. Levine has been advocating for marijuana liberalization since the early days of Bush II. After close to 20 years of both paid and unpaid activism, he now lobbies in Colorado and Washington, D.C., for one of Colorado's biggest weed retailers -- LivWell. Levine has established the New Federalism Fund, an organization driven to win over the administration when it comes to supporting legalization.
"Marijuana represents the ideal opportunity for the administration to reaffirm its commitment to the principle that states should have the power to decide." -- Neal Levine, LivWell, via ViceThe NFF has gone father than just pulling at the Constitutional heartstrings of the R party. The organization has adopted "Trumpian" language, promoting the job-creating opportunities of the industry, as well as the huge potential for profitability in the industry. The organization has called on conservative lawmakers to shed a piece of IRS code that takes a heartbreaking amount of money from marijuana businesses through immense taxation. 280E is a bit of tax code that was created in the '80s that prevents any company from deducting business expenses connected to federally prohibited substances ... like marijuana. Ultimately, businesses in the industry are paying rates around 70 percent. "We aren't asking for special favors," Levine told Vice. "Marijuana businesses just want to be treated like everyone else. People assume we're swimming in money. What they don't realize is that if you're in the cannabis business, the government is helping itself to pretty much everything that you're taking."