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Not everything is fun and games: the downside of the cannabis industry | Cultiva’s Law, PLLC

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As attorneys who specialize in commercial cannabis cases, we love working in the cannabis industry. We have to do challenging and personally satisfying work that directly helps our dedicated, hardworking and creative clients.

But we constantly hear from people who want to get out of the cannabis business because it is destroying their personal lives. They are feeling overwhelmed by the widespread stigma against marijuana and the resulting side consequences – from bad to worse – of working in the cannabis industry.

The bad: the professional backlash against the cannabis business

Despite the prevalence of cannabis legalization in the United States, the public stigma against cannabis remains strong. This is baffling and totally predictable. Yes, there is a strong and ever-growing base of public support for the legalization of marijuana. But we also have a long history of excessive punishment of marijuana possession, with severe racial undertones. There are still people in the US – like Allen Russell in Mississippi – serving Life imprisonment for possession of a few ounces of marijuana. Research has shown that these Countries that harshly punish possession and use of cannabis have suffered the most stigmatization. This general negative feeling will not evaporate overnight.

The professional consequence of anti-cannabis stigma is that if you – or any of your business partners – hold any kind of professional licence, it may be distorted by implying that you are involved in “illicit drug trafficking”.

We’ve experienced this ourselves as cannabis lawyers, but we’re not the only ones. Although marijuana has many proven medicinal uses, many clinicians remain reluctant to prescribe or penalize its use, fearing backlash from employers or licensing boards. What if the accountant your company uses to manage the books refuses to continue working with you because their certification agency is threatened?

Between the personal repercussions and the inability to maintain good quality assistance, the professional consequences can be frustrating and demoralizing. But it gets worse.

Worse yet: the financial consequences of working in the cannabis industry

If you own or run a cannabis-related business, don’t expect to jump on the refinancing bandwagon the next time home loan interest rates drop. In fact, your best bet is likely to be to buy your home — and any other assets — with cash. Because cannabis is still federally illegal, FDIC-insured banks are unlikely to consider income from a marijuana business in a mortgage application, eliminating the possibility of homeowners for many cannabis business owners. If you can’t buy a home without financing, you may need a cosigner, and you will likely pay higher rates and fees to offset your apparent “risk.”

In the same vein, cannabis companies generally cannot apply for standard business loans, which removes the layer of financial protection available to most entrepreneurs. And you won’t get any tax credits on your business, which puts you at another disadvantage relative to other business owners. Because the federal government asserts that you are a common criminal, the 280E does not allow tax write-offs. Taxes for the cannabis industry range from 50% to 90%. This is a slim edging razor.

But the worst of the cannabis industry is the personal repercussions.

Worst of all: the personal ramifications of working in the cannabis industry

One thing that a bank rejecting your mortgage application is because some suit in a grim office thinks you’re most likely a criminal. It is quite another thing to hear close to you telling the judge in your custody case that you are a decadent drug dealer. Ask the judge to agree.

If you have to go to court for anything—a divorce, a child custody dispute, a personal injury lawsuit, enforcement of a contract, even a speeding ticket—be prepared for your opponent to tease your field as evidence that you are lazy, untrustworthy, untrustworthy, and more. So.

Whether you’re actually rolling dough or just barely rolling it out, expect people to assume you always hold Backpack full of cash. Plan to install a security system to protect your home and family.

You get used to the look you’ll get from people who make unjustified assumptions about what kind of person you are just because you work in the cannabis industry. Many will assume that you are constantly high even though you work as hard at your job as any other entrepreneur. Others will consider you a criminal. It’s heartbreaking when your kids don’t have friends because other parents think you’re bad influence.

Devastating side effects like this are certainly a downside to working in the cannabis industry – but there are ways to start a cannabis business to reduce those effects. This is part of what we do at Cultiva Code. We are here to help. Doom and gloom aside, you’ll probably get into this because you are passionate about the plant and see opportunity. Just be prepared because it won’t be all sunshine and rhino smoke.

Grow guide for marijuana beginners.
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