DOJ secretly using IRS to investigate Colorado marijuana businesses, lawsuit says


The IRS is “working jointly” with DOJ to conduct unauthorized criminal investigations using state’s seed-to-sale database, federal lawsuit alleges.

The U.S. Department of Justice is secretly using the Internal Revenue Service to conduct criminal investigations into otherwise legitimate marijuana businesses in Colorado under the guise of tax audits, lawyers for the companies say in an ongoing federal lawsuit.

The IRS called the allegations baseless and illogical, saying inquiries it is making for information from Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division are simply part of its efforts at verifying financial records in determining if businesses owe more tax.

The case in U.S. District Court filed by the owners of Rifle Remedies, a medical marijuana business in Silt, is one of several that challenge IRS subpoenas to MED seeking information about how much pot they’ve grown, to whom they’ve sold it, and when. The IRS said it has resorted to the tactic because businesses have refused to offer the information voluntarily.


These Charts Show the Evolution of America’s Marijuana Laws Over Time


Luckily, the centrist think tank “Third Way” released a collection of charts showing the history of marijuana legalization in the United States. They also included an analysis of how all those laws came into existence and how future legalization efforts can learn from the past. But for now, we’ll just enjoy these charts.



Opponents of marijuana legalization dominate new Mass. commission


Four of the five members of the Cannabis Control Commission, whose full slate was named today, opposed the legalization initiative that was passed by voters last year.

Led by Steven Hoffman, a former Bain & Co. executive, the commission faces a tight deadline to hire staff and craft regulations before next April, when applications will begin flowing in for the state’s first recreational marijuana dispensaries. They’ll then need to vet candidates before the first pot shops can open July 1.

The board includes:

– Hoffman, a legalization opponent who has no background in the marijuana industry and was tapped yesterday by Treasurer Deb Goldberg to be the commission’s chair

– Britte McBride, who also voted against legalizing marijuana last November, once headed AG’s policy and government division, and was tapped by Attorney General Maura Healey today

– Kay Doyle, a joint pick announced today by Goldberg, Healey and Gov. Charlie Baker, who was deputy counsel at the Department of Public Health, where she was the top in-house lawyer for the state’s medical marijuana program. Doyle also voted against legalization, according to the treasurer’s office, citing “concerns with the ballot initiative.”

– Shaleen Title, co-founder of THC Staffing Group, a cannabis recruiting firm, who was another joint selection announced today. Title helped write the marijuana legalization referendum voters passed last November and is a founding board member of the Minority Cannabis Business Association

– And Jennifer Flanagan, who resigned her seat in the state Senate after Baker picked her for the board earlier this month. Flanagan, who was co-chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse, voted against legalization, and has a degree in mental health counseling.


Texas poised to issue first medical marijuana licenses


Three small companies — two of them in the Austin metro area — are on the verge of making history by winning the first Texas licenses to grow, process and sell a form of medical marijuana in the state.

But the renown isn’t expected to equate to quick profits, and success over the long haul likely depends as much on the Texas Legislature as on their business acumen. The companies – Compassionate Cultivation, Surterra Texas and Cansortium Texas – are facing strict state regulations that limit their customer bases and how they formulate their products, on top of investment costs running into the millions of dollars.

“It is safe to say that it is a challenging market,” said Morris Denton, chief executive of Compassionate Cultivation, which is retrofitting a 7,200-square-foot Manchaca warehouse with customized equipment for growing and processing cannabis.