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Shelton Mason County Journal
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Mason County Journal
August 28, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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August 28, 2014

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Page C-10 - Mason County Journal - Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 IRS, paying with cash the biggest .ecau,e the federal government considers it an illegal enterprise. If you're a marijuana business owner, you fears among marijuana growers can't write off your expenses. And, if you don't declare your income, your spending trips a red flag with the IRS through excessive cash-only purchases or bank de- getting handed cash when you go toposits. You might end up having an extremely difficult your boss twice a month to get paid. conversation with IRS agents. No automatic deposit to your credit union. No Many people involved in marijuana growing do de- paycheck for you. clare their income on their tax returns, but they do it You put the money in your purse or wallet in a dodgy manner that uncharitable observers might and walk out the door, probably checking to ensure no refer to as money laundering. one is checking you. You can't drive that cash to your A 45-plant marijuana grower in Seattle, who obvi- credit union or bank because those folks start asking ously needs to remain anonymous, does declare his in- questions when faced with excessive cash-only depos- come, but he channels it through his completely legiti- its. They might think the money has illegal roots, and mate home-based business. then it becomes their responsibility to ask follow-up Of cops, robbers and the IRS, a grower told the Ma- questions to discover where your son County Journal he fears .the money is coming from. IRS the most. Now imagine paying all your "The IRS you never want to bills with that cash. You go to the ByKIRK ERICSON mess with," said the grower, who PUD to pay your utility bill. You wished to remain anonymous. "I've go to the credit union to pay your always paid my taxes, but I declare mortgage or your landlord to pay it through my business. My lawyer your rent. You use cash at the grocery story, the gaso- and accountant have advised me to do this. I feel it line pump, the bank to pay your credit card bill, at the doesn't make any difference as long as you declare it school to pay your child's lunch bill. You use cash -- or a and pay your taxes." money order -- for every financial transaction. However, if the IRS were to dig into his legitimate And because you're getting paid with cash, you're business and discover it wasn't making the money he likely not getting Social Security tax withheld. You're claimed, the IRS likely would start messing with him. not getting withholding to pay your income tax. You're The grower said he doesn't write off his expenses, not contributing to worker's compensation. Maybe which he estimated at $1,000 a month. "I can't. Mor- that won't seem too awful right now, but it might be- ally, I just can't declare those expenses." come awful some day. Those problems have confronted people involved Now imagine the anxiety of constantly having that with medical marijuana dispensaries since those busi- cash around you. You'll worry about getting robbed, nesses blossomed in Washington during the past four You'll worry about losing it. or five years, and now it's a problem for the vast major- If you own a business related to marijuana sales or ity of people involved with the state-sanctioned mari- if you're a grower or processor selling to those busi- juana stores that started opening in July. nesses, your anxiety and potential problems far exceed Because marijuana remains illegal on the fed- your employees' worries because you're dealing with eral level, and because banking deposit insurance is far higher stacks of cash. regulated by the feds, any bank or credit union that Then there's the IRS. You can't declare your earned knowingly accepts money from a marijuana business income on your tax return as coming from marijuana could be found to have engaged in money laundering. Using cash to pay bills, not getting withholding to pa Last year, 13 charges for misdemeanor possession of marijuaea were referred to the Mason County Prosecutor's Office ,, in contrast, ie 2012, 129 misdemeanor marijuana possession charges were referred to the office, continued from page C-9 January 2014, the SherifFs Office ar- Dorcy said. brains and bodies are still developing. rested two people for marijuana. In the immediate aftermath of the "The kid that's lying down stoned in The Shelton Police Department of- Last year, 13 charges for misde- new law, officers have more time for the back of the room is not doing a lot ten has only two or three officers on meanor possession of marijuana were other crimes, of learning," he said. "The assumption duty. referred to the Mason County prosecu- "It frees us up to (investigate) the is because it's legal it's not harmful." "Their time to seek out incidents of tor's office from law enforcement,other drugs that are illegal," said the Salisbury also said he believes mar- misdemeanor possession of marijuanaIn contrast, in 2012, 129 misde- SOG sergeant. "Right now, heroin is ijuana use will increase among teens is not that frequent," Watson said.meanor marijuana possession charges probably the No. 1 drug being abused and that marijuana-related DUIs and "These are generally incident to some were referred to the office, in the community." car accidents will increase. other form of police work." "The biggest difference is we don't Watson said it's difficult to draw In other words, people are most fre- have those to prosecute anymore," NEGATIVE EFFECr$? conclusions from one full year of data. quently charged with misdemeanor Dorcy said. "It saves some court time, While legalizing recreational pos-"I think it's too early to say what possession after officers find the drug some docket time." session of marijuana has freed some kind of an effect the law has had on ju- during a traffic stop or an arrest for a Dorcy said Mason County has never time for law enforcement officers and venile access (to marijuana)," Watson crime such as shoplifting, Watson said. prosecuted a lot of felony possession prosecutors, could increased access to said. "Right now we don't have enough The Mason County Sheriffs Office cases. He said illegal growers andthe substance also have negative ef- information to make that judgment." saw a peak in marijuana arrests from dealers generally only have that much fects? Mason County law enforcement of- January 2012 to January 2013, with Cannabis on hand. Mason County Sheriff Casey Salis- ricers have seen some negative affects. 34. The year before it had one mari- "Usually that was tied to manufac-bury thinks it can, especially with In early March, a Shelton home juana arrest. From January 2013 to ture or possession with intent to sell," teenagers and young adults, whose was knocked off its foundation after Harry J. Anslinger appointed commissioner of the Federal University of Bureau of Narcotics Boggs Act establishes Mississippi becomes "Reefer minimum prison sentences official grower of Use of the word Madness" for simple possession marijuana for federal "marijuana" increases cautions Marijuana removed government in the U.S. against from the "United States marijuana Pharmacopeia" Controlled Substances Act classifies marijuana as a drug with "no accepted medical use") r 4: American Medical Association opposes the proposed Marihuana Tax Act and supports research on medical Cannabis tllllm=~ Amedcan Oct. 2: Samuel Caldwell becomes the first marijuana pharmaceutical = seller convicted under the Marihuana Tax Act firms sell Newspaper magnate William [ . . CREDIT5: Univ. of Mississippi, extracts of Randolph Hearst plays role in Notional Geographic Web site; ii Oct.: Marihuana Tax Act leads to dechne m marijuana as denouncing marijuana iI madjuana prescriptions Nlxon/Presley, NotlonolArchlves and medicine Records AdmlnlstK/tion. May 1: President Richard Nlxon (pictured with Elvis Presley) chooses to ignore the recommendation of the Sharer Commissioner - a panel he appointed - after the panel urged that possession of marijuana not be illegal under state or federal law 11 ! ] ii II Ill IN[ [7: []li[[ I]i ;JlEI]li/~ ~ ! I;tl~!~, $~il~]i:t~lif',it~[i|i~llli]l|lri:l]ltllll|[#t ]iiill il$~[i lli I I':1[ ;I Ili I !