April 15, 2015 — Letters to the Editor

Brad Skiff



Repeal tax rules for marijuana business

Please join me in asking Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and Rep. Dan Newhouse to eliminate Internal Revenue Code 280E and its tax burden on legally licensed marijuana businesses in our state and nation. Please consider joining Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Sen. Ron Wyden in their tax reform effort to eliminate IRC 280E.

IRC 280E results in a huge tax burden for legal marijuana businesses in our state. Its effect is that a legal marijuana business cannot deduct “ordinary and necessary” business expenses on their tax return — think rent and utilities. They are unable to deduct the 25 percent excise tax currently levied on marijuana in our state. Legal marijuana businesses in our state are paying federal tax on state tax.

As you know, Okanogan County has one of the highest unemployment rates in our state. According to data from the Washington State Liquor Control Board website, our county currently has three legally licensed marijuana retailers, 23 legally licensed producers and 18 legally licensed processors, all of which are struggling with the added federal tax burden of IRC 280E.

This same data tells us that, since inception, legal marijuana businesses have sold to date $141,872,649 of marijuana statewide, with state excise tax collected of $35,468,164, none of which, because of 280E, is deductible for federal income tax purposes. As businesses struggle with the limitations placed upon them because of IRC 280E, many owners are questioning their financial viability. Jobs that were created with the inception of Initiative 502 will be going away, throwing Okanogan County back into the race for highest unemployment rate in the state.

Again, I urge you to join Oregon’s Rep. Blumenauer and Sen. Wyden in their tax reform effort to eliminate IRC 280E.

Please help ease this financial burden on small businesses and job-creators who operate, not only in the state of Washington, but in other states, and Washington D.C., that have legalized marijuana for either medicinal or recreational uses.

Carol Fisher

Winthrop

Why do we demonize others?

The April 8 edition of The Chronicle contained two letters expressing hate and bigotry. I’m assuming and hoping these letters represent only a fringe of our population. Most people I know are accepting and tolerant.

My hopeful theory is that people this bigoted are of a certain age and will not be alive much longer to perpetuate their beliefs. (I am of that certain age, by the way.) On the whole, young people are more accepting, educated and aware that the differences in humankind are a positive thing and not a threat. It is because of these young people that I believe a bright future awaits.

All over the world, humans have the same needs and desires: food and clean water for their families and to have their productive days be peaceful and absent of fear.

I hate to see these letters that hurt and injure. What is this human flaw that finds the need to demonize others?

Betsy Rainsford

Omak

Carefully consider decisions on hospital

I received a flyer from the Mid-Valley Hospital administration asking me to vote for a general obligation bond. It stated the bond was to improve infrastructure, upgrade technology, maintain emergency services and to keep quality health care local.

I am in agreement with these requests and wish to support them. However, I also am aware there are six doctors from our community who have either left or who announced plans to leave the community within the past six months. What good is infrastructure without doctors?

Having talked with a number of these doctors, I am concerned the doctors are leaving because working conditions at the hospital are so difficult. We obviously have a problem that voters should be aware of. We will be asked to vote for hospital board members in upcoming elections.

We should all give careful consideration to these elections.

Kitty Reinbold

Okanogan

Hold lawmakers accountable on marijuana laws Why does the Legislature want to undermine medical cannabis? Initiative 502 clearly stated that if passed, it would have no effect on medical cannabis laws.

But Senate Bill 5052 is an effort that could doom our medical cannabis patient rights. This bill could bring harm and even death to many medical cannabis patients. Why would the Legislature do this?

Three reasons grab my attention: knowledge deficit, power, and greed.

Knowledge deficit: The Legislature is behind the leading edge of Medical Cannabis Study. Amazing anecdotal stories of healing are coming to the public’s attention daily. Legislative bills presented in this session don’t recognize the unique organism of each individual human nor our specific medical condition. New and promising cannabis plant varieties and delivery systems are being developed as we speak.

Recent bills would limit the term “concentrates,” constrict study, experimentation and the patients right to choose the best treatment. They would limit the number of plants a patient could grow to less than half the current amount.

Greed: I- 502 created a huge lobby of 502 growers, processors and retail store owners. Many members know nothing about the exciting miracle of medical cannabis. They want to sell recreational pot.

Senate Bill 5052 would force patients to purchase their medicine from recreational stores under the guidance of the state Liquor Control Board. Growers following control board guidelines can produce cannabis heavily laden with non-organic chemicals. Medical patients lose again, being forced to smoke, ingest or topically use medicine grown with chemicals known to exacerbate their conditions. This lobby and the WSLCB have held secret meetings. One purpose of these meetings was to end medical cannabis.

Power: Campaign contributions put and keep lawmakers in office. Public records show the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 5052, Sen. Ann Rivers, R-18th District, has received substantial contributions from large pharmaceutical corporations. Pfizer, Abbott and Eli Lilly have all contributed to her.

It is up to the public to hold the Legislature accountable. Please call your representative today and tell them Senate Bill 5052 is not acceptable. The Legislature needs to work with cannabis patients groups on an acceptable way to provide safe access to quality medicine.

If these efforts fail to convince the Legislature that we need medical cannabis, the public must once again take the initiative.

Initiative 1372 will strengthen and protect medical use of cannabis. You can find a copy at online www.cppwa.org Please download a copy, sign it, get your friends to sign it and send it to the address on the website by June 27. This may be the only way to bring common sense, regarding medical cannabis, to the Legislature.

Michael “Buffalo” Mazzetti

Tonasket

Register today to be an organ donor The Children’s Organ Transplant Association was founded in 1986 when residents of Bloomington, Ind., rallied around a toddler who needed a life-saving liver transplant. In less than eight weeks, the community raised $100,000 to place the boy on the organ waiting list.

But the child died before an organ became available. Those community volunteers, along with his parents, turned tragedy into triumph by using the funds they raised to help other transplant families. That was the beginning of COTA.

Since that time, COTA has assisted thousands of patients by helping to raise funds for transplant-related expenses. COTA has built extensive volunteer networks across the nation in an attempt to ensure that no child or young adult needing an organ or tissue transplant is excluded from a transplant waiting list due to a lack of funds.

COTA needs your help to make sure that tragedies, like the one that was the catalyst in founding COTA, are not repeated.

Every day, 21 people die waiting for an organ transplant in the U.S. April is National Donate Life Month. One organ donor can save eight lives.

Please register today to become an organ donor by going to www.donatelife.net and registering to be an organ donor in your state.

Rick Lofgren

Bloomington, Ind.



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