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  • J. L. Campbell

IRS Clarifies That Medical Marijuana Is Not Tax Deductible (But It Should Be)

Tax season is upon us, and there’s some confusion about whether or not medical marijuana is tax deductible. After all, marijuana is medicine, which is a necessary expense, so it would make sense that Missouri medical marijuana cardholders could deduct their cannabis purchases from this year’s income taxes. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Recent Confusion Regarding Claims of MMJ as a Medical Expense

Some accidental misinformation came out during a recent C-SPAN interview with IRS National Taxpayer Advocate, Erin Collins. On an episode of Washington Journal, a caller asked whether or not they could deduct their cannabis purchases.

The caller was facing difficulty in searching through TurboTax to claim their marijuana purchases as a deduction. At first, Collins wasn’t sure whether or not the caller was discussing recreational or medicinal purposes. Then, she stated, “If it is a medical expense and you have an option on your Schedule A, you could potentially put it there.”

Collins’s response left many cannabis users breathing a sigh of relief, believing they would be able to deduct their medical marijuana purchases on this year’s taxes. But, Collins was incorrect.

IRS Clarifies Cannabis is NOT a Medical Deduction

In a follow-up, Collins clarified her misstatement, saying "I had not previously studied the federal tax treatment of marijuana, and I speculated that marijuana 'potentially' could be deductible as a medical expense in certain circumstances."

Collins continued, "After the program, I checked the law. To clarify, medical marijuana is not tax-deductible for federal purposes under current rules."

The IRS further clarified that, unfortunately, they don’t have the discretionary authority to create policies allowing medical marijuana deductions since cannabis remains illegal on the federal level.

Medical or Not - Marijuana Is Still Against Federal Law

The most prominent hurdle between claiming your medical marijuana as a deductible expense on your federal income taxes is that cannabis is still illegal federally. Yes - cannabis is medicine; it’s called “medical marijuana” for a reason. But, until cannabis is made legal on a federal level, it likely won’t be something you can claim on your taxes.

The MORE Act Signifies Change

There is hope that marijuana will finally become federally legalized, and in the past few years, major Congressional steps have been made. Perhaps most notably was the MORE Act, which stands for Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement.

The MORE Act, introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019, was passed by a majority vote of 24-10 in the House Judiciary Committee. The win could be a major step in the fight to make marijuana not only legal but to reverse the criminal records of those serving unjust sentences and repercussions from cannabis-related crimes.

When the MORE Act passed the House Judiciary Committee, it made history. It was the first time a congressional committee ever passed a bill to make marijuana federally legal. Unfortunately, the bill was less successful at the Senate level, and it died in committee so it never even made it to a vote.

Still, the MORE Act is a sign that the conversation around marijuana is changing on the political level. At the moment, medical marijuana is legal in 37 states, which is well-past the threshold of majority, so it’s only a matter of time until cannabis is legal on the federal level. Once that happens, the IRS will need to re-evaluate their stance on medical marijuana as a deductible expense.

The Case for Medical Marijuana as a Deductible

Marijuana is medicine, and it is legal for medicinal purposes in Missouri as well as thirty-six additional states. That’s ultimately because cannabis can be used to help patients with hundreds of conditions.

Although marijuana is changing lives, bureaucratic red tape remains, preventing residents of Missouri and other states where medical cannabis is legal from deducting it as a medical expense. However, other medical expenses are deductible across the board.

According to TurboTax, “The IRS allows you to deduct unreimbursed expenses for preventative care, treatment, surgeries, and dental and vision care as qualifying medical expenses. You can also deduct unreimbursed expenses for visits to psychologists and psychiatrists. Unreimbursed payments for prescription medications and appliances such as glasses, contacts, false teeth and hearing aids are also deductible.

The IRS also lets you deduct the expenses that you pay to travel for medical care, such as mileage on your car, bus fare and parking fees.”

You can deduct travel expenses, but you can’t deduct the safe, natural relief that cannabis provides - relief which you were legally approved to purchase by a doctor. Fortunately, change appears to be on the horizon, and as the conversation surrounding cannabis use evolves across the nation, we look forward to new laws, Hopefully, it will soon be easier for Missourians and patients throughout the U.S. to be able to deduct all of their medical expenses - marijuana included.

You Can’t Avoid Taxes, but You Can Get Relief.

Tax season can be anxiety-inducing, but you can go through it with the natural relief that cannabis provides. If you have your Missouri medical card, you don’t have tackle tax season alone. If you need some help getting your card, we can help you with that! Our physicians are standing by to take you through a quick and easy evaluation to see if you qualify. Schedule an appointment with a marijuana doctor online by CLICKING HERE, or give us a call at (877) 303-3117 to talk to a patient support representative.


Doctors Who Care.

Relief You Can Trust.

At Missouri Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (877) 303-3117, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Missouri Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Missouri!

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