PODCAST: The growing opportunity for CPAs in the marijuana industry

Posted on Monday, February 10, 2020 by Nicole Fracasso

The medicinal marijuana industry is more nuanced than you might realize says Justin Breidenbach, CPA, associate professor of accounting at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Breidenbach joined OSCPA on a recent episode of The State of Business to discuss the influence of the marijuana industry on the accounting profession. Breidenbach, who has spent years studying the impact of the medical marijuana industry discussed how accounting fits into the industry, what CPAs need to know before getting involved and much more.

Since the medical marijuana industry is a relatively new development for Ohio, Breidenbach recommends doing your research and networking to make sure you understand all the “unique nuances of the industry,” to determine how you can play a role. For example, if someone has experience in agriculture, it can translate to the marijuana industry.

“At the end of the day, it is a product that grows,” Breidenbach said. “It needs to be cared for just like any agriculture product would be.”

To enter in the medicinal marijuana industry as an accountant means becoming well-versed in complex regulations and client pain points, says Breidenbach.

“You really need to be all in if you’re going to be working in this industry because it changes so fast,” he said.

Breidenbach also discussed the progress the industry has made. For example, marijuana used to be a “taboo topic,” but that has changed within the past few years.

“I’m glad to see that that’s changing,” he said. “And that you have professionals, especially CPAs, who are wanting to get into the industry and provide quality service to these clients.”

Just like other businesses, medicinal marijuana needs help with book-keeping, record keeping and navigating tax codes. Firms can most definitely help with that, Breidenbach says.

“A lot of opportunities are out there for CPAs who want to get involved in the industry,” he said. “Take those skill sets you have and find out where you can apply that into the industry.”


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