By Greg James
Everything has changed with the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado. It’s a new world now. What was once a black market business — in which product was clandestinely grown in basements and garages — is changing and evolving rapidly.
Business licenses need to be obtained, along with insurance and security systems. Taxes now must be paid, and to do them correctly, legal marijuana businesses will often need the assistance of smart tax experts as well as lawyers and CPAs. Yes, it’s a different world, but it’s also a world where the sky is the limit. Going legal should be exciting and challenging. It will be more work than selling pot in a baggie and not paying taxes, but, hey, it’s legit now!
In this issue, we are calling out for help to form a 502 political action committee (PAC) in Washington. It’s badly needed right now because the 502 community is subjected to rules and regulations that are hindering its development by not allowing it to grow in the same mostly free (if not freewheeling) manner as other legal businesses. For the record, I’m okay with the idea that legal marijuana needs to be regulated and closely watched at first, but creating an environment that sucks huge sums of money away from the industry and into a regulatory bureaucracy is probably not going to help in the long run.
Washington and Colorado have a great opportunity to show the rest of the country that they are leaders in new business ideas and concepts. Think about it, here is Washington with several recently-formed corporations that dominate their sectors: Costco is No. 1 in warehouse-style retailing; Microsoft rules personal computer software; Starbucks pioneered the upscale coffeehouse well ahead of the competition; and Amazon is the undisputed king of Internet sales. In other words, we’re pretty darn good at taking new ideas and making them big. With the right business environment, this state could become the center of a new and rapidly growing/evolving legal marijuana business. We could be to cannabis what Virginia is to tobacco, the Napa Valley is to wine, and Kentucky is to whiskey. But it will take work, as well as a business environment that promotes the marijuana industry, rather than an environment that is indifferent.
I urge you to get in touch with John Comerford (email@example.com), who is organizing the 502 PAC effort in Washington. Let’s create a strong political action committee that pushes for laws and regulations that free up the legal marijuana business in Washington to operate in a manner that is smart and responsible, but that is also able to grow, rapidly expand and become the center of what is inevitably going to be a big international industry.