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New Mexico Supreme Court Says Cannabis Purchases Not Subject to Tax

Ultra Health says it will receive $7.4 million for improperly withheld gross receipts taxes.

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The New Mexico Supreme Court has determined medical cannabis purchases should be treated like any other medication and not have been subject to New Mexico Gross Receipts Tax. Ultra Health, New Mexico’s #1 Cannabis Company, submitted an Amicus Brief to the New Mexico Supreme Court last year to demonstrate the legal basis for medical cannabis to be untaxed exactly like any other prescription in the state.

“WHEREAS, having considered the petition, response, and briefs of the parties, the judgment of the Court is that the writ shall be quashed as improvidently granted,” the New Mexico Supreme Court’s February 23, 2022, order states.

Issues are dismissed as improvidently granted when the Court acknowledges it should not have accepted the case. Now, the New Mexico Court of Appeals ruling stands as the determining order that previous cannabis purchases by medical cannabis patients should have never been subject to New Mexico Gross Receipts Tax.

“To paraphrase, the Compassionate Use Act was intended to make medical [cannabis] accessible to those with debilitating medical conditions who might benefit from the use thereof,” Judge M. Monica Zomara stated in the Court of Appeals opinion. “It is reasonably self-evident that the deduction from gross receipts for prescription drugs was similarly intended to make medical treatment more accessible, by lessening the expense to those who require it. These statutes should be read harmoniously, to give effect to their commonality of purpose.”

Ultra Health will receive a $7.4 million refund plus interest following the New Mexico Supreme Court’s decision.

In 2014, a producer in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program requested a refund for gross receipts taxes paid on medical cannabis, claiming medical cannabis should be untaxed and treated like any other prescription in the state. In 2018Ultra Health also filed a similar, separate refund.

The New Mexico Tax and Revenue Department (TRD) denied both claims, as did a Hearing Officer in internal administrative proceedings. Both producers appealed TRD’s decisions.

In January 2020, the New Mexico Court of Appeals overturned TRD’s decision to deny medical cannabis purchases a deduction from New Mexico Gross Receipts Tax.

TRD then appealed the Court of Appeals’ decision, sending the issue to the New Mexico Supreme Court. Based on the New Mexico Supreme Court’s February 23, 2022, action, the matter is closed and no other appeals are available.

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