Can an employee of a legal marijuana business in Oregon still be included in Social Security and Medicare?

— Susanne P., Talent


You remember the old saying about death and taxes, Susanne. Well, cannabis stores pay their fair share and then some.

Not only do the stores pay regular taxes on employees, including for Social Security and Medicare, they also can't take the write-offs most companies enjoy to minimize their tax load.

"You pay all your taxes," said Clay Bearnson, who owns Oregon Farmacy and is a Medford city councilor. "You can't get away from it."

In fact, marijuana stores pay taxes under IRS Code 280E, which places those stores in the same category as illegal drug traffickers, according to the IRS.

"Though a medical marijuana business is illegal under federal law, it remains obligated to pay federal income tax on its taxable income ... ," according to an IRS memo released on Jan. 23, 2015.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to To see a collection of columns, go to We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.