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Federal Drug Defense Attorneys Take a Look at Possible IRS/DOJ Collusion Against Legal Marijuana Businesses

September 22, 2017, on Articles |

Federal drug defense attorneys can provide legal representation to anyone who is accused of drug crimes on the federal level or on the state level.  While many states have relaxed their laws prohibiting marijuana, and some states have even legalized marijuana for recreational use, the federal government continues to take a strict stance on cannabis.

In fact, the federal government has been moving to make laws against marijuana even more stringent and has been aggressive in looking for ways to impose serious penalties for drug crimes.

Now, a lawsuit has been filed alleging that the Department of Justice is colluding illegally with the IRS to go after legal marijuana businesses. The Motley Fool writes about the claims of improper collision that are being raised in the lawsuit brought by a legally-operating marijuana grower and seller.

Are the DOJ and IRS Colluding Against Legal Marijuana Businesses?

According to the Motley Fool, a marijuana business operating legally under its own state laws is claiming that the Internal Revenue Serve is using the guise of a tax audit to obtain information for the Department of Justice.  The claim that the IRS was acting improperly arose after the IRS subpoenaed the state's Marijuana Enforcement Division to ask for information about how the store had grown its cannabis and to ask for information about who the store was selling its cannabis products to.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit also alleges that, in March of 2016, DOJ officials provided training to IRS agents to help those IRS agents learn investigative techniques normally used by law enforcement officers. This training would empower the IRS to go beyond just conducting financial audits by giving them the tools to delve deeper into how marijuana businesses are operating.

The DOJ could potentially be resorting to colluding with the IRS to conduct investigations because its hands are tied when it comes to conducting its own investigations. Because of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, a piece of federal legislation passed by the last congress, the Department of Justice cannot use federal resources to go after marijuana businesses that are operating legally under the laws of the states where the businesses are located.

Both the IRS and the Department of Justice are denying the allegations made against them that they colluded to conduct an investigation into the cannabis business. The IRS indicates that it requested the information about the cannabis growth and cannabis sales in order to verify the financial information that the business had provided as a part of the IRS audit.

The outcome of this lawsuit could have profound implications if it is determined the IRS and DOJ did actually work together to try to circumvent federal rules and investigate a marijuana business. Evidence of collision would demonstrate the extreme lengths the Department of Justice is willing to go to crack down on cannabis business operators. 

Those in the cannabis industry should be wary of aggressive federal efforts to fight cannabis legalization and should consult with federal drug defense attorneys as soon as they believe they could be facing a potential federal investigation.