Today we’re going to talk about something you probably didn’t expect from this show: Cannabis. But if we want to future-proof this profession, it’s high time we talked about this stuff — pun most definitely intended.
It’s time to expand this conversation about the cannabis business — or cannabiz, as some are calling it. Legalization for both medical and recreational cannabis products is growing at the state level. At this point, it seems like a hard trend — a future fact. Of course, with cannabis still illegal at the federal level, there are lots of landmines to step around, from a business and legal and financial point of view. These businesses need our help more than ever — and we need help, too. There are a lot of complexities here.
To help us come to a joint understanding, if you will, about how we can best serve our clients in this area, I sat down this week with Emily Burns. Emily is an attorney and founder of Legally Burns LLC, which provides customized legal and consulting solutions specifically for the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. She’s an expert on cannabis-related legal, regulatory, and policy issues. She’s worked with a wide range of individuals and entities in the public and private sector over the past four years, including financial institutions, federal policymakers, state regulatory agencies, and licensed businesses in Oregon, Maryland, and across the mid-Atlantic.
In this conversation, we cover:
- How extensive marijuana legalization is in the United States.
- The growing momentum of state legalization and the potential tipping point for nationwide legalization.
- Laws and regulations that finance professionals need to be aware of.
- The Farm Bill of 2018.
- How CPAs can prepare to start serving people in the cannabis industry.
Listen to our conversation here.
Hard trends in cannabiz
An article in one of The Washington Post’s daily newsletters called “Cannabis Goes Culinary” outlines what might become a growing trend in states where recreational marijuana is legal: high-end cannabis restaurants.
Washington Post reporter Maura Judkis writes about a first-of-its-kind restaurant, Lowell Farms, created by chef Andrea Drummer. Instead of pairing meals with wine or beer, “budtenders” help patrons “pair their farm-to-table meal with the perfect strain of farm-to-table marijuana.”
If things go well for the West Hollywood restaurant, we’re sure to see more of its kind popping up over the next couple years. That’s the kind of momentum this legalization push is creating — brand new businesses that have to navigate legal minefields that didn’t exist a decade ago. Jackie Subeck, who is chairwoman of the cannabis legislative subcommittee for the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, told The Post, “With cannabis, we are building the boat as we’re on the water.”
That’s why the trusted advice of a CPA is more important than ever — and why CPAs need to get familiar with the legal and financial issues facing businesses like these.
In addition to this podcast, you can learn more today by checking out one of the courses that Emily created for the Business Learning Institute:
- Cannabis Comes to Your State: Legal, Regulatory and Compliance Considerations
- A Cannabis Law Primer: CPA, Accounting and Finance Edition
- Marijuanomics 101: The Economics of Legalization