Permit me to offer a slightly different perspective. I have been in professional practice as a CPA for thirty-seven years, and likely twenty more to come [I hope]. We have supported the cannabis industry in California since 1998, today it represents fully over half or our practice, and we are a three office national firm.
We are at the cutting edge of the evolution of accounting, tax and compliance for the legal Cannabis industry in California, and perhaps a full third of my time is involved with those that regulate the accountancy profession, and those that regulate and tax the cannabis industry.
I realize this may seem somewhat boring to those of you that grow. However, the success of a legal commercial cannabis industry in California, and the rest of the US for that matter is entirely dependent on the transition in California from a lazziefare, lightly regulated market to a highly regulated commercial market with over twenty agencies [if are not fully aware of the history of the evolution of the cannabis industry in California, I highly encourage you to read [An Analysis of IRC Sec. 280E, Cannabis Cultivation As Agricultural Activity, and State Regulation of CPA Services to the Cannabis Industry.
The same concerns and focus that apply to accountancy apply to the legal profession, and we would point you to these two articles [A Clarion Call for Cooperation Between the Legal and Accountancy Professions Serving Commercial Cannabis andExamples of What Attorneys Serving the Cannabis Industry Shouldn’t Be Doing With Accountants].
The Accountancy and Legal professions need to identify a major academic institution such as the University of California - Berkley or Los Angeles and establish an Institute for Accounting, Tax, and Legal Issues and Cannabis to counter the abuse that exists with for-profit conferences being sponsored by cannabis industry organizations [See California Accounting Tax Legal Institute]. A practitioner with cutting-edge ideas on how to deal with problems within the cannabis industry shouldn’t be asked to contribute $5,000 or more to present their ideas, it hurts both professions and the cannabis industry. The professions need to embark on an active effort to develop the products, services, and platforms that the LEGAL commercial cannabis industry needs to thrive. [See an example in Roadmap for CCDS Document Suite]
Finally, the growers and everyone else on the “touch the plant” segment of the commercial cannabis industry needs to learn more about and engage with the attorneys and Certified Public Accountants that are working to advance the abilities of the professions to serve the LEGAL commercial cannabis industry. The reality is that legal means regulated, and regulated means accounting, taxes, compliance and licensing. Which unfortunately means that the reality is all of those components must be addressed, as are just as necessary in our current world as any of the technical subjects related to growing. The same can be said for data analysis, and we point you to Cannabis Big Data for that.
We are committed to doing our part such that the needs we address are met so all of you can continue to grow, and hopefully be profitable…pride and $$ are unfortunately inseparable in a regulated market. I didn’t intend for this comment to be this long, I truly prefer not to spend Friday evenings “hearing myself write”, but unfortunately regulation and compliance are necessary in legal markets.
My apologies to anyone that finds this out of place, but my experience has been that cannabis businesses that get raided by law enforcment for not taking the time or effort to become legal don;t thrive.