As the attitudes of civilians and Feds change, marijuana-centric startups see a “greenish” light to move forward — and stand to gain big. Alice Truong has the story.
It’s teeny here but clicking through takes you to our Infographic of the Day: The business of getting high. Some pro-tips:
Not all Markets are Created Equal. Alaska’s weed has been legal for 10 years, but before you open a dispensary in downtown Anchorage, consider this: There’s no state law governing retail marijuana businesses. Compare that to Colorado where you can plunk down $7,500 at the Department of Revenue and apply for a Type 1 MMC license, permitting you to operate a medical marijuana center serving up to 300 patients. Prison or paperwork? You make the call.
Don’t Hold Out for Free Checking. That first buyer may come easily, but don’t assume the same goes for processing his credit card. National banks like Wells Fargo have turned away marijuana businesses, which are still considered illegal under federal law. That makes simple business processes like a checking account, corporate credit cards or a merchant services account costly, time-consuming challenges. Lucky for you, there are smaller, local banks eager to win business in a growing industry.
Tax Laws. When tax time comes around, you’ll have to skip all of those normal business expenses. The bean-counters at the Internal Revenue Service will be following guidance under Section 280E of the tax code: No business deductions for trafficking in controlled substances. That means medical marijuana operations can expect to pay 50% to 200% more in taxes than other businesses (but don’t worry too much: the fat margins the report uncovered, especially on the grow side, should help ease the blow.)