The Top 5 Pitfalls of Cannabis CEOs (and their Accountants) are Still Making

Cannabis companies are being shut down, fined, and handed down punishments at an alarming rate.

Have you seen the news lately? Cannabis CEO’s are getting in big, BIG trouble, and it’s only going to get worse. The cards are stacked against cannabis businesses in this current political climate. Even with that being the case, some businesses are able to figure out how to not only be profitable, but to do so without getting into hot water with the feds or local authorities.  

Others are cutting corners, cheating the system, or simply not following the rules. While they may get away with it in the short term, there’s the simple fact the crackdowns are only going to get worse and more frequent.

For those that want to run a legit cannabis business, avoid crazy fines, and really lead the pack in operating a cannabis business during this time of growth and opportunity, listen up.

We’re going to discuss 5 common, avoidable mistakes that are getting folks into...

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Harborside Case Review and Lessons for CPAs, Dispensary CEOs & Investors

Background: Harborside Marijuana Facility Runs Into Trouble

The IRS just handed down yet another decision that further cements their position on the cannabis industry and how these businesses must deal with 280e and the other tax laws that restrict them from the same benefits that most other businesses use to save money. Here’s what happened.

Harborside Health Center, owned by Patients Mutual Assistance Collective Corporation, was one of the largest dispensaries in California. This action followed an unsuccessful civil forfeiture case where the federal government wanted to force them out of their lease (citing 280e). Harborside then decided to use the government's lack of action to their advantage, which ultimately didn’t work out in their favor in the end. Harborside sold many products other than medicinal cannabis, and also offered classes and services to their clients. Based on the wide range of products and services offered, Harborside wanted to be able to make tax...

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Understanding Cannabis Growth Processes to Maximize Tax Deductions

accounting gaap Jan 28, 2019

What does a pound of weed cost to grow?  What are the production factors involved, and how does that affect recordkeeping procedures for growers and their accounting professionals?

In order for cannabis growers to take advantage of maximum allowable deductions under 280E, accounting professionals must understand how to properly determine the true cost of growing/producing their client’s product. The actual operations of a grower is important for accounting professionals looking to serve cannabis companies, as resource allocation during different cycles of a grow will affect their ability to claim allowable deductions. Opportunities abound for accounting professionals to maximize deductions throughout the seed-to-sale process; from labor all the way to distribution…

… and this is where GAAP Accounting comes into play.

What is GAAP for cost accounting?

Under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), absorption costing is required for external...

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World Class Cannabis Accounting Practice Operations and Systems

Whether you have cannabis accounting clients or are looking to specialize and service this industry, you’re going to need a special set of tools and processes. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, we’ve created an infographic that sort of outlines all of the tools that we use to provide services to our clients. You can check out our cannabis accounting tools here.

In terms of running a thriving cannabis accounting practice, there are a number of challenges that we are faced with. Without proper systems for managing clients, it can create more trouble than it is worth, and eat into profitability.

We get a plethora of questions daily as to how to overcome the challenges that both CEOs and accounting professionals are faced with in this nascent industry that is in hyper-growth. Some challenges include:

  • Accounting software isn’t friendly to complex cannabis entity structures 
    Cannabis business structures are highly complex. Accounting...
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Dope Featured In Green Entrepreneur | 7 Things You Need to Know Before Becoming a Dope Accountant

green entrepreneur press Nov 30, 2018

When Dope CFO first started it was to service actual cannabis clients such as dispensaries, grows, and edible makers, who were trying to understand and navigate the complex financials of the business. Here's our founders advice to those thinking about breaking into the often lucrative profession of cannabis accounting.

Read More HERE.

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Dope CFO featured in 'The Highs and Lows of Marijuana Banking' | Bank News

accounting bank news press Oct 22, 2018

Marijuana is legal in several U.S. states, however, it’s still not legal federally. This case causes obstacles for many banks and marijuana-related businesses (MRBs).

 President Obama’s administration allowed banks and legally established MRBs to do business, as long as banks complied with the extensive guidelines, which monitored the MRBs’ commercial activities and filed quarterly any suspicious activity reports. But on Jan. 4 Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescind these policies, and uncertainty spread among businesses and banks alike.

By canceling these policies, Sessions is simply giving federal attorneys the option to prosecute in their states. According to the Washington Post, several of the 13 U.S. attorneys in the eight states where recreational pot is legal have said they will only prosecute if a cannabis business has ties to crime or violence”.

What does this mean for banks and MRB’s? With banks and MRBs on shaky footing, Andrew...

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Dope CFO featured in TD Ameritrade's Market Watch, 'Pot Stocks, ETFs, Top News And Data From The Cannabis Industry This Week

Dope CFO Andrew Hunzicker and Naomi Granger have been featured in TD Ameritrade's Market Watch, 'Pot Stocks, ETFs, Top News And Data From The Cannabis Industry This Week'. Check out how we are educating business and equipping them with qualified CPA's to better serve their marijuana business.

Read more HERE.

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Dope CFO featured in TD Ameritrade's Market Watch, 'Pot Stocks, ETFs, Top News And Data From The Cannabis Industry This Week'.

Dope CFO Andrew Hunzicker and Naomi Granger have been featured in TD Ameritrade's Market Watch, 'Pot Stocks, ETFs, Top News And Data From The Cannabis Industry This Week'. Check out how we are educating business and equipping them with qualified CPA's to better serve their marijuana business.

Read more HERE.

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Maria + Jane: Women in Cannabis Business Podcast

Naomi Granger, Co-Founder of DOPE CFO, is featured in a recent episode of The Maria + Jane: Women in Cannabis Business podcast to share about the knowledge and practices needed to thrive as an accountant in the cannabis world.

Maria & Jane is dedicated to inspiring and informing women in (or interested in) the cannabis business landscape. Their weekly newsletter and podcast, provides news stories, deep insights, and interviews. Listeners hear perspectives from founders, growers, advocates and more to help them navigate the fast-paced world of cannabis business.

 In the episode, Naomi shares her passion about the rapidly growing cannabis industry and work with CEOs to help them maximize their cash flow, minimize their tax burden and never worry when the auditors come around. She also provides insight to:

  • Avoid falling victim to common financial woes plaguing cannabis business owners today.
  • Understand compliance concerns, banking issues and federal tax limitations for...
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Could California's Pot Industry Hit the Same Wall as Oregon? | The Business Journal

Oregon has experienced a price spiral following the legalization of recreational cannabis in 2014. California, despite its population of over 39 million people and many tourists, may face the same problem. Oversupply is the primary market condition that has driven prices in Oregon.  

However,  the scenario of a California cannabis price spiral is unlikely. Now there is a push for federal laws to fully legalize cannabis and enable the interstate trade to fulfill demand across state lines. The basic economics of supply and demand – with cities and counties restricting the sale of cannabis – provide an optimistic outlook for entrepreneurs.


There are many other factors that impact cannabis markets that are changing constantly. To read more about these factors, with some additional insight from Dope CFO’s Andrew, Hunzicker,  read “Could California’s Pot Industry Hit The Same Wall As Oregon?” from The Business Journal.

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