Seventy-six smartly-dressed women from Women Grow, a national network of female marijuana entrepreneurs, lobbied nearly 100 congressional representatives on Capitol Hill this week. Their issues included tax reform and access to banking, two crucial elements to the legal cannabis industry. They also wanted to show lawmakers that pot advocates come in all types and that many are, in fact, women.
“We are small business owners committed to replacing the criminal market with a wellness-focused industry that provides safe and consistent products. We are not asking for special treatment but simply the same access to banking and fair tax rates as any other legal business,” said Jazmin Hupp, co-founder and Executive Director of Women Grow, in National Journal, of the organization founded in Denver in 2014.
One portion of the tax code, Section 280E, prevents those who sell controlled substances from writing off their business expenses. In that pot is illegal on a federal level, small businesses in states where it has been legalized end up paying taxes on their entire revenue – not just their profit – which often translates in having to pay up to 90% of their income in taxes.
“All of this economic benefit that could be going to a local community is instead being sucked away to Washington,” said Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association.
As for women, explained Ms. Hupp, “It’s crucial for them to get in on the pot industry as it gets off the ground… a multi-billion dollar industry does not come along every day.”
Hupp believes women are poised to become the dominant cannabis entrepreneurs and purchasers in that they control the majority of household spending, are more likely to be treated for a chronic illness, try alternative health care and be responsible for their family’s health and wellness decisions.
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