In the Weeds: The Cannabis Industry Needs Accountants

This year, the major accounting technology conference Accountex (formerly SleeterCon) happened concurrently – and down the street from – the largest cannabis industry conference in the United States, the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo. Seemingly an unrelated coincidence, the timing turned out to be kismet: Accountex attendee Penny Breslin, a financial technology consultant based in San Diego, found herself fielding questions from Expo attendees asking whether she “knew any good accountants.”

As it turns out, Breslin told me, the marijuana business is in desperate need of accounting (and legal) services as the drug becomes legal state by state at a rapid pace. But what would it take for an accountant, or a suite of accounting software, to take on a cannabis-related business’ books?

First, it’s important to understand that the legalization of marijuana does not mean it suddenly becomes easy to buy and sell at will. Each state in which...

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