Currently, twenty-six states plus the District of Columbia have legalized Marijuana use in some form and three more states are in the process of passing measures. However, it is still illegal under federal law. While Marijuana may be a budding industry but entrepreneurs face strong headwinds.
Even where it is legal such as in California, people who have created businesses around the marijuana industry have had businesses raided, assets seized, and face prosecution. Just look at what has happened to one business owner, James Slatic is facing numerous charges for having a marijuana business after a raid in San Diego, CA.
No matter your thoughts on the use of marijuana (full disclosure – I don’t use it personally) I am not against its use if you chose to, so long as it is legal and you don’t do it at work or while operating machinery. I am a big supporter of its use in medical applications. But I digress. I am however about protecting businesses.
While you shouldn’t have to sneak around while operating a legal business, it is important to realize if you own such a business that you face additional risks. Whether you are a grower, maker of oils, foods, or even a dispensary, operating legally, you need to take steps to ensure your operational safety and business continuity. You should even consider contingencies should you be raided and have assets seized as in the case with Mr. Slatic above.
Some things to consider if you operate a Marijuana Business:
- Find and retain a good attorney willing to support you and your marijuana operations
- Find and locate a marijuana friendly financial institution
- Keep personal and business finances separate and well documented
- Learn, and be knowledgeable about interstate and intrastate shipping and transporting laws
- Be knowledgeable about distribution and manufacturing laws
While not every situation is the same, the above will serve as an excellent basis for a starting point. I am also recommending to business owners of this type that you do not disclose what you do to everyone. Hold that close to your vest so to speak. At least until it becomes a more open and accepted business. The reason for this is not everyone is so open to the idea, and it is still not legal from a federal standpoint.
If you own or operate such a business legally and you need someone you can trust for guidance and support, from anything from data back-up to other contingency plans feel free to contact us. We’d love to help your budding marijuana business.