Two cannabis retailers are once again facing disappointment after the U.S. Supreme Court for the second time declined to hear their appeal request. Standing Akimbo, a Denver-based cannabis retailer, originally submitted a request to prevent the IRS from accessing their business records back in 2020. After losing in an appellate court, Standing Akimbo attempted to have his case heard by the Supreme Court, which passed on it back in June of this year. Then, according to Law360, “The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday [8/23/2021] to rethink its denial of a pair of appeals by marijuana companies and their owners challenging Internal Revenue Service summonses for state information.”
The first time around the block in an appellate court, the plaintiffs (Standing Akimbo’s four owners) unsuccessfully argued:
- The IRS exceeded its authority by allegedly investigating drug crimes.
- Their Fourth Amendment privacy rights were being violated.
The second time around when they tried to appeal to the Supreme Court, the response was “The U.S. Supreme Court won’t consider a Colorado marijuana dispensary’s dispute with the IRS over a deduction restriction for drug-related businesses,” according to Bloomberg Tax.
This third and final time around, according to MJBiz, “The Colorado plaintiffs had attempted to persuade the justices that their cases were worth hearing,” particularly in light of two things:
- Justice Clarence Thomas’ comments in June that federal marijuana prohibition “may no longer be necessary.”
- Allegations that the IRS had retaliated against the plaintiffs with additional tax assessments.
MJBiz also mentioned another plaintiff that joined Standing Akimbo at least the second and third times around, Eric Speidell, owner of The Green Solution. Apparently, “Standing Akimbo tried to argue that the IRS had no right to the company’s state tax records during the course of a federal tax audit,” and “Speidell tried to convince the courts that the IRS didn’t have the legal authority to determine if The Green Solution’s operations were prohibited under federal law and the Controlled Substances Act. Both cases were attempts at overturning 280E, the federal tax provision that bars marijuana businesses from claiming standard tax deductions.” Obviously, neither was successful. At this point, it seems that the long-drawn-out legal battle is at its end — at least or now.