Request A Case Evaluation Or Tax Resolution Development Plan

California Cities Decriminalize Psychedelics While The California Legislature Considers Legalizing Psychedelics

In February 2024, California Sen. Scott Wiener, and Assemblymember Marie Waldron, proposed Senate Bill 2012 named The Regulated Psychedelic-assisted Therapy Act and the Regulated Psychedelic Substances Control Act.

This new proposal follows Governor Newsom’s veto of a bill in October 2023 that would have decriminalized the possession of psychedelic drugs. Newsom stated that he would support a bill focused more on therapies and treatment: “California should immediately begin work to set up regulated treatment guidelines — replete with dosing information, therapeutic guidelines, rules to prevent against exploitation during guided treatments, and medical clearance of no underlying psychose.”

This new Senate Bill 1012 focuses more on therapies and treatment following Newsom’s comments and previous veto. Senate Bill 1012 would allow adults 21 and older to use the hallucinogenic drugs psilocybin mushrooms, MDMA, DMT and mescaline in a controlled setting and under the supervision of a licensed and trained facilitator. Furthermore, Senate Bill 1012 would require California to establish a licensing board that would develop training and oversight rules for therapy facilitators. Therapy Facilitators would have to screen individuals before they can participate. Also, the bill calls for the creation of a public-private fund to support grants for public health education related to psychedelics.

If this bill becomes law, California would be the third state in the nation to legalize psychedelics (following Colorado and Oregon).

There are four cities in California which have already decriminalized a range of psychedelic substances – Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Cruz and Eureka.

Oakland Decriminalizes Psychedelic Mushrooms – Oakland passed a resolution in July 2019 to effectively decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms and other psychoactive plants and fungi. The resolution says city money will not be used to assist in the enforcement of laws imposing criminal penalties for the use and possession of entheogenic plants by adults. It says that investigating people for growing, buying, distributing or possessing the substances shall be amongst the lowest law enforcement priority for the City of Oakland. The resolution however does not allow for commercial sale or manufacturing of the mushrooms.

Berkeley Decriminalizes Psychedelics – Berkeley decriminalized a range of psychedelic substances within city limits in July 2023. The resolution de-prioritizes enforcement of state and federal laws against entheogenic and psychedelic plants and fungi.  The resolution also forbids “giving away, sharing, distributing, transferring, dispensing, or administering” psychedelics. The council’s resolution, does not include psychedelics “produced through artificial synthesis,” it only includes “plant- or fungus-biosynthesized psychedelic drugs.”

Santa Cruz Decriminalizes Psychedelics – In January 2020, the Santa Cruz City Council voted to decriminalize adult use, possession and cultivation of entheogenic psychoactive plants and fungi. In the Resolution, a provision was inserted to clarify that “the sale, use and cultivation of Entheogenic Plants and Fungi to and by minors should be considered an exception that should require appropriate investigation by the Santa Cruz City Police Department.” Furthermore, the Resolution instructs the city’s state and federal lobbyists to “work in support of decriminalizing all entheogenic psychoactive plants, and plant and fungi-based compounds listed in the Federal Controlled Substances Act.”

Eureka City Council Decriminalizes Entheogenic Plants and Fungi – The Eureka City Council decriminalized Entheogenic Plants and Fungi in October 2023. The ordinance directs the police to deprioritize busting people 21 years and older for the personal use, cultivation or possession of entheogenic plants and fungi like psilocybin mushrooms, peyote and other hallucinogens. The ordinance does not decriminalize commercial sales or use by those under 21.

New research into psychedelic therapies

There is a lot of research being conducted in regard to how psychedelic drugs may positively impact and treat mental health illnesses, such as depression or PTSD. One such study was published by the Association of America Medical Colleges.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved psychedelic-assisted therapies. However, in December 2023, the nonprofit research group Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies applied for FDA review of its MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD, which could come later this year. Furthermore, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced its intent to study psychedelics for the treatment of PTSD and depression.

A Complex Tax Landscape for Psychedelics and Cannabis

Similarly to Cannabis, where the Federal government has outlawed it but various states or cities have legalized Cannabis, a complex tax landscape may be created for legal businesses involved in psychedelic activities. Many psychedelics fall under the category of Schedule I substances under the Controlled Substances Act. This classification usually results in the disallowance of federal tax deductions related to the production and sale of these substances. IRS Code Section 280E, originally conceived for illegal drug trafficking organizations, has been used to restrict deductions for businesses engaged in the sale of controlled substances. But companies involved in legal psychedelic activities, specifically such as research or therapy, may not be subject to the same restrictions, potentially allowing them to claim deductions, such a Cannabis businesses do. For example, Cannabis business owners can deduct their cost of goods sold, which is basically the cost of their inventory. What isn’t deductible are the normal overhead expenses, such as advertising expenses, wages and salaries, and travel expenses. In addition, businesses operating in the psychedelics industry and Cannabis industry must navigate different state tax laws.

What Should You Do?

The nuance of this subject matter and different federal, state, and city tax laws can be a challenge for some business owners. You know that at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. we are always thinking of ways that our clients can save on taxes. Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), San Diego County (Carlsbad) and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income. Also if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you.  And if you are involved in crypto currency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

    Request A Case Evaluation Or Tax Resolution Development Plan

    Get a Tax Resolution Development Plan from us first before you attempt to deal with the IRS. There are several options for you to meet or connect with Board Certified Tax Attorney Jeffrey B. Kahn. Jeff will review your situation and go over your options and best strategy to resolve your tax problems. This is more than a mere consultation. You will get the strategy or plan to move forward to resolve your tax problems! Jeff’s office can set up a date and time that is convenient for you. By the end of your Tax Resolution Development Plan Session, if you desire to hire us to implement the strategy or plan, Jeff would quote you our fees and apply in full the session fee paid for the Tax Resolution Development Plan Session.

    Types Of Initial Sessions:

    Most Popular GoToMeeting Virtual Tax Development Resolution Plan Session
    Maximum Duration: 60 minutes - Session
    Fee: $375.00 (Credited if hired*)
    Requires a computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device compatible with GoToMeeting. Please allow up to a 10-minute window following the appointment time for us to start the meeting. How secure is GoToMeeting? Your sessions are completely private and secure. All of GoToMeetings solutions feature end-to-end Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption. No unencrypted information is ever stored on our system.

    Face Time or Standard Telephone Tax Development Resolution Plan Session
    Maximum Duration: 60 minutes - Session
    Fee: $350.00 (Credited if hired*)
    Face Time requires an Apple device. Please allow up to a 10-minute window following the appointment time for us to get in contact with you. If you are located outside the U.S. please call us at the appointed time.

    Standard Fee Face-To-Face Tax Development Resolution Plan Session
    Maximum Duration: 60 minutes - Session
    Fee: $600.00 (Credited if hired*)
    Session is held at any of our offices or any other location you designate such as your financial adviser’s office or your accountant’s office, your place of business or your residence.

    Jeff’s office can take your credit card information to charge the session fee which secures your session.

    * The session fee is non-refundable and any allotted duration of time unused is not refunded; however, the full session fee will be applied as a credit toward future service if you choose to engage our firm.