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mermaidcamp

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#WeedWednesday Welcome To Arizona

July 4, 2017 1 Comment

cannabis

cannabis

cannabis

cannabis

cannabis

cannabis

cannabis

cannabis

Arizona made medical marijuana legal in November, 2010 by enacting Prop 203, which won by a narrow margin.  The health department of the state regulates and licenses dispensaries.  The number of dispensary licenses issued is linked to the number of pharmacy licenses in the state. Prop 203 calls for no more than one dispensary license to be granted for every 10 pharmacy permits issued by the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy. As of 2010 when the law was passed, that equates to 124 dispensaries statewide. Patients who live more than 25 miles form a dispensary can apply to have a caregiver grow for them, or be their own caregiver.  Many rural areas of the state are more than 25 miles from a dispensary, most of which are concentrated in the urban areas of Phoenix and Tucson.

In Nov 2016 Proposition 205 was defeated by the voters, 51.32% to 48.68%.  Had it passed Arizona would have joined the adjoining states of Colorado, Nevada, and California in legalizing recreational marijuana.  This makes Arizona a less well-funded state, and creates a tourism draw for the other three.  The marijuana tourist tax dollars Arizona turned away will visit Las Vegas and have no remorse.

Canadian firms have started to invest significantly in the AZ market, buying dispensary management companies and making other large investments throughout the state. The cannabis business will grow at a slower rate than our adjoining legal states, but still contribute much to the economy under the current medical law.  Most people think it will eventually be legal in all states soon.  Investors and consultants are setting themselves up in business within the law and are also preparing for the future.  New products and product lines are brought to market and management contracts are being signed.  Weed is big business, a growth business. The expanding market will be served in new ways, yet to be discovered. This is an interesting segment to watch.  What are the marijuana laws in your state, gentle reader?

What Are Health Savings Accounts?

January 24, 2017 1 Comment

HSA

HSA

I have had a health savings account at my bank for many years. It is a simple savings account earning little interest. My accountant advised me to contribute to it, and I did without understanding the full reason. Now that I am on Medicare, in a relatively safe position, I am extremely happy I have a hefty HSA. I can use it for any approved medical expense that is not covered by my insurance. To qualify in the first place I had to carry a high deductible health insurance policy. This virtually guaranteed all the expenses would be paid by me, since I never hit my deductible amount in a single year. Now that I am on Medicare I can’t contribute any more, but that is fine also. I believe I have just the right amount for my own situation. I was not taxed on the initial deposit and the expenditures always qualify as legitimate medical expenses on my taxes.  I get to essentially write it off twice, even though it earns little interest.

There are  few caveats, such as making sure the use you make of it is an approved expense under the law. I made a costly error couple of years ago by paying for some body work from that account that did not qualify.  I paid an IRS penalty larger than the original payment, just to make sure I am in compliance with the law.  Now I will never cross that line again, as I know the consequences.  I did get a written prescription from a doctor for lymphatic drainage treatments, shiatsu, and reflexology at the U of A Supportive Care for Healing at the hospital.  Without the written orders those treatments would not be allowed, but with doctor’s orders it is fine. The same is true of over the counter medicines or vitamin supplements. Make sure you have the doctor’s orders filed with your tax documents, just in case you need them. My plan and my HSA account is personal, so there is no other entity for me to satisfy other then the IRS and the bank where the account resides.

There are plans in which employers contribute to HSA as an alternative or supplement to insurance. The law creating HSA’s was signed by George Bush on Jan 1, 2004.  Previous to that time a similar medical savings accounts existed for employees of small businesses.  The present law is open to employers of all sizes, not just those with fewer than 50 employees. Now the HSA is being promoted as an alternative to health insurance.  I am very pleased I have one, but it is no way an alternative for insurance. It is effective to the extent that it meets the individual’s needs.  It can be spent on preventive care not covered by most policies, so it can upgrade the health care of the customer.  It can be invested in a more lucrative way than my own interest earning savings plan at a bank.  I have a debit card I use for all medical payments during the year.  The feature I like the best is the full accounting of all the money I have spent on health care during a given year.  The HSA  bank statement is all I need to do my taxes at the end of the year and keep track of my health care spending.  I am glad to have it, if for no other reason than ease of tax accounting.

Do you have a health savings account, gentle reader?  Is yours done through an employer or is it a personal plan?  I think it is a good idea, but there is much to know to choose the right one and deposit the right amount for your future needs.

IRS

IRS

Obstruction of Justice

November 12, 2013 5 Comments

Justice

Justice

What is obstruction of justice, exactly? Many of us feel that somehow our relationship with the government is unjust. We think our tax dollars are spent without enough consideration. We feel cheated.  We feel mislead.  The formal definition of obstruction of justice is complex and complicated.  Federal law defines perjury as obstruction thusly:

I. Whoever

II. a. under oath or b. in any

i. declaration,
ii. certificate,
iii. verification, or iv. statement

under penalty of perjury as permitted under Section 1746 of title 28, United States Code376 III. in any proceeding before or ancillary to

a. any court or
b. grand jury of the United States

IV. knowingly

V. a. makes any false material declaration or
b. makes or uses any other information, including any

i. book,
ii. paper,
iii. document,
iv. record,
v. recording, or vi. other material,

knowing the same to contain any false material declaration,
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.377

So if you lie to the Feds about Federal law you will be in trouble with the court.  Richard Nixon was brought down for his mendacity.  He made an effort to mislead the judicial system.  If you were alive for Watergate his is probably the face of political hanky panky at it’s most absurd.  Since Nixon, however, we are not feeling that our democratic tax dollars are used fairly.  We see our elected officials blatantly serving the lobbyists who support them.  We see the giant and growing discrepancies between the most wealthy and the poverty-stricken.  We are watching as liberty and justice for all vanishes from the United States of America.  A sliding scale for prosecution of crime fills the jails and penitentiaries with people of color while the banker robbers of the world are still mostly loose on the town.  There is now a sense that the government spies on the citizens, lies to the citizens, and often fails to serve the interests of the citizens.  The fourth branch of government is now lobbyists.  We never see their faces, but we know they are out to lunch with our elected officials and we are not.  In  our guts we know this is unfair.

Redefining Wealth

December 17, 2012 3 Comments

If you have a mortgage on your home chances are good that a redefinition of your family’s wealth has swept through your reality. To evaluate risk you might have made the assessment that your home was a good investment. You might have accepted that without question and without comparison to liquid investments. You might have purchased your home during the wild and crazy time when the banks were riding high on the fake valuation they gave your home. You might have thought, like the banks did, that there would never be any reckoning for this obvious inflation of the truth.  This harsh reality may feel like a purposeful fraud that was executed on you without your participation.  The question to ask is ” Did I convince the bank I could afford this, or did the bank convince me?”  It does not matter.

What will make a meaningful difference is learning discernment from this kind of tragic error. The Elephant and Donkey Show is now at the point of considering taxing more heavily citizens of the US who make more than a million bucks a year.  I am so all over that if they tax the living daylights out of that group, and actually take their immunity through loophole out of the game. While the world watches America is hosting an epidemic of poverty and lawlessness that make some people believe the anti Christ is the American Dream.  Since Viet Nam the US has been sporting bravado rather than ethics.  Being the greatest country in the world does not involve more spin and PR than real greatness.  It involves adding value and kindness to the world by educating and caring for your own citizens.

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