I have been receiving a number of calls from people wanting to take advantage of the potential commercial opportunities that the legalization of recreational marijuana presents. (Again the usual disclaimers apply, this is for educational purposes and is not intended as legal advice nor does this in any way constitute an attorney-client relationship between myself and the reader) There are several things to be aware of:
- The Department of Public Heath and Human Services is tasked with setting up rules and regulations as it pertains to these businesses and has until October of 2021 to formulate these rules (this may change) right now there are no rules in place for setting up a recreational marijuana business and doing so exposes you to potential criminal prosecution.
- The legislature is meeting in 2021 and will almost certainly tinker with this law.
- Each and every County and City will also have the power to regulate and zone these types of businesses just as they have for medical marijuana (which cities like Great Falls banned) although there are medical providers in the County surrounding Great Falls. Due to this setting up a business may at some point come in conflict of local zoning rules and force you to shut down or move.
- Banking is difficult. Most banks will not accept accounts for these types of businesses because of the heightened scrutiny and compliance requirements that are placed on the banks.
- It is still a federal crime. So anything that involves the federal government can get you in trouble: Military locations, airports, national forests and parks, the reservations, federal buildings are just some of the areas that can get you in trouble. Just because the federal government currently is looking the other way for the most part, does not mean they always will. I remember several medical marijuana businesses that believed the Holder memo was a free pass and found out very quickly that the federal government can still get involved and make their lives miserable.
- You still have to pay federal taxes and your deductions are limited for these businesses (you should consult an accountant)
- You can not have a firearm for self defense or defense of your business. This is a very easy way to get federal involvement and end up in prison.
- You cannot transport marijuana across state lines.
Please consult with an attorney about any of your business plans and be careful. I will be following up with additional posts either in writing or by video in the future.