Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner (Kathryn Scott Osler, Denver Post file)

Sen. Cory Gardner to co-sponsor federal bill to let canna-businesses take tax deductions

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner is backing federal legislation that would allow state-legal marijuana businesses to claim tax deductions and credits.

The Colorado Republican said Wednesday that he would sign on as a co-sponsor of the Small Business Tax Equity Act, which was introduced earlier this year by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rand Paul, R-Ken. The bill would create an exception to Internal Revenue Code 280E, which currently disallows credits and deductions from income generated by sales of controlled substances.

“Our current tax code puts thousands of legal marijuana businesses throughout Colorado at a disadvantage by treating them differently than other businesses across the state,” Gardner said in a statement emailed to The Cannabist. “Coloradans made their voices heard in 2012 when they legalized marijuana, and it’s time for the federal government to allow Colorado businesses to compete.

“This commonsense, bipartisan bill will allow small businesses in Colorado and other states that have legal marijuana businesses to grow their operations, create jobs, and boost the economy.”

Gardner noted that some of these deductions and credits could include normal business expenses and for activities such as the hiring of U.S. veterans.

Gardner will become the sixth senator and the second Republican senator to co-sponsor Senate Bill 777. In addition to Paul, other co-sponsors include Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; Patty Murray, D-Wash.; Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; and Al Franken, D-Minn.

The House version of the bill, also introduced March 30, has 39 co-sponsors as of Wednesday, 25 Democrats and 14 Republicans.

Related: Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz: Stop punishing cannabis industry. Remove 280E from tax code.