Three months ago to this exact date, medical marijuana was legalized in Oklahoma. This added Oklahoma to the list with 29 other states and opened the flood gates to an extreme amount of confusion. Currently we have over 1,000 medical cannabis businesses approved and a flood of inaccurate information flowing. If you stick 100 people in the same room, everyone will have a different opinion and no information to back it up.
Let me start out by saying, I am a bookkeeper. My job is to keep my clients compliant and their business books organized. I am passionate about my clients having a solid financial future. Bookkeeping is a must in any business and EXTREMELY important in this industry. I attended my first medical marijuana networking event and just after an hour of talking to owners realized if they do not get help, a good majority of businesses will be closed shortly after opening. So I jumped into the fire with these people I had never even laid eyes on before. I started making calls and looking for others who would extend their knowledge to help these business owners.
What I found as I started making these calls was a bit shocking. Many lawyers will not help owners structure their medical cannabis business because they are afraid of the American Bar Association disbarring them. This leaves these owners to handle their licenses and business entity alone and puts them at risk to suffer consequences from lack of knowledge later. The lawyers who will work with cannabis clients all had excellent advice on business entities and and licensing but none of them agreed on what compliance actually entailed. Compliance is a big concern to a majority of owners. They truly do want to be compliant but have minimum knowledge of what that truly means.
Many CPA’s I called had never heard of IRC 280e or were afraid to extended services to these clients because they fear they could end up in jail. I found myself as a bookkeeper educating many of these CPA’s on IRC 280e. Some CPA’s are happy to try with minimum or no knowledge of IRC 280e. If you know what this tax code states and does not state than you know WHEN audited they could face astronomical problems. My job as a bookkeeper is to work with both my clients and their CPA. Lack of knowledgeable CPA’s puts both my clients as well as myself at a large disadvantage.
As with every other state we also have the banking issue. No business owner wants to have a large amount of money on hand. Many owners are looking for loopholes to obtain a bank account. All with little or NO legal advice or guidance. Some business owners are getting “advice” on what may be a loophole but in fact is really just breaking the law.
As with any new industry confusion occurs at a rapid rate. The difference here is, medical cannabis is an extremely delicate and grey industry. For those owners looking to be complaint and structured correctly we need to offer it to them. As a passionate individual and business owner, I pledge to go the extra mile and help clear out the confusion for as many owners in this industry that I can.