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The Boston Weed Party? MariMed stages cannabis tax protest

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By Cassie McGrath

The Boston Tea Party? More like the Boston Weed Party.

Wednesday evening, executives and staff from Norwood-based cannabis company MariMed sailed out onto Boston Harbor dressed in colonial-era clothing and dumped boxes labeled “weed” into the water to protest a federal tax rule.

Section 280E of the IRS tax code has long been cited as an unfair burden on cannabis businesses. Because cannabis is still federally classified as a Schedule 1 substance, that rule prohibits companies from deducting ordinary business expenses from their federal taxes, like rent and payroll, as other businesses do.

“250 years ago, our patriot ancestors protested taxes with the Tea Party,” said Jon Levine, MariMed president and CEO in a statement. “Being a Massachusetts native and our company headquarters being here in the Norwood Mass. area, we are taking advantage of the opportunity to protest another unfair tax in 280E.”

The tax provision originated in a 1981 court case concerning a convicted cocaine dealer who asserted he could legally deduct business expenses. In response, Congress passed 280E to prohibit people selling drugs from doing the same.

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