Fractional CFO Services for Cannabis

Fractional CFO Services for Cannabis

An experienced CFO is critical for ensuring compliance with the many rules, laws, and regulations that govern all aspects of legal cannabis.

As the legal cannabis industry continues to grow, so does the demand for professional business-to-business services such as finding an experienced and passionate chief financial officer or a bookkeeper that understands your unique challenges. And in the cannabis space, these services are essential for success.

But the option to hire a full-time business advisor or chief of financial operations isn’t always available. Whether it’s because of budgetary limitations or it’s too early to justify bringing full-time financial professionals into your business, a cannabis company doesn’t always need a full-time CFO.

Fractional CFO for Your Cannabusiness

So, how can cannabis operations obtain the business accounting, strategic planning, long-term CFO partner they need?

northstar financial consulting group cannabis fractional cfo services

Northstar’s Fractional CFO Service for Cannabis

Keep reading to learn more about what we do as fractional CFOs and how we’re accelerating growth for business operators in the cannabis space.

Looking for an extraordinary outsourced CFO firm? Northstar has the financial professionals you need.

Contact us now to learn how our fractional CFO services save your business money while we scale your operation with services specifically for the cannabis space.

Northstar’s Fractional CFO Model

save money

Save Money

You don’t need to hire a full-time bookkeeper or CFO. In-house CFOs demand high salaries estimated up to $578,054 annually with benefits. And let’s not forget the added cost for overtime.

This is just one of the benefits of hiring a fractional CFO for cannabis.

A fractional Chief Financial Officer will handle your operation’s needs at a fraction of the price. Rather than paying for a bunch of services you don’t need, you get what you need when you need it, with expert precision from Northstar.

save time

Save Time

You don’t have to spend hours looking for finance professionals. The interview process is long and challenging; in some cases, you might have to try multiple candidates to find the right fit.

So, should you outsource your CFO service? A fractional option is usually better and here’s why.

With fractional CFOs, you can try before you buy. Rather than going through the entire hiring process, you’ll be able to make a quick hire for the services you need.

If it doesn’t work out, you don’t have to start that long process all over again. Simply move on to the next fractional candidate until you find the right fit.

scale up cannabis trimming

Scale Up or Down Quickly

It’s easy and affordable to scale your operation with our fractional CFO model. This is the entry point cannabis businesses need to begin scaling.

Some seasons are busy. This is when you’ll want to scale fast with more services.

However, there will be times you’ll need to scale down. For example, your business might have other financial demands it needs to fulfill. By scaling back these services, you can allocate those funds appropriately to support your operation.

Immediacy to Cut Costs

Immediacy to Cut Costs

The time spent hiring a new team member costs your business money. With this in mind, the immediate placement we provide saves time and money by limiting the time you devote to hiring.

Your business’s financial needs are critical; you need immediate assistance with business accounting, raising capital, and more.

Through Northstar, you fulfill immediate necessities. For example, if your current CFO leaves suddenly, you can replace them fast and continue operations without delays.

giving ideas for cannabis business

New Perspectives for Your Cannacompany

It’s always ideal to have fresh perspectives for your business. And the experience we have in cannabis will offer ideas that your team might not consider.

Goals and plans can limit the way your team thinks. But someone who isn’t involved in the daily operations will offer a viewpoint only achievable from the outside looking in.

For difficult decisions, this is valuable. Our impartial advice will help you navigate challenges that hinder success, allowing you to scale more easily.

more knowledge brain

More Expertise & More Knowledge

Expertise and knowledge go a long way in the cannabis space. This is especially the case for operations that don’t want to pay the hefty price tag of a full-time team.

You don’t just get one person working on your business’s success. Instead, you have our entire team with experience operating in the cannabis space.

fractional cfo for cannabis businesses

Fractional CFO Services for this Elevated Space

The right fractional CFO service can provide the niche-specific business expertise your cannabis company needs to grow while keeping your access to these services within financial reality.

A fractional CFO service is just that: a handful of talented professionals who act as “sub-CFOs” for small businesses and startups. They share responsibilities with an outsourced general accounting team, bookkeepers, and other financial experts all while working under one cohesive fractional business consulting service.

Northstar’s Services

Our fractional CFO services are the perfect solution for cannabis companies that do not need a full-time finance advisor or team to run operations. As your fractional CFO partners, our professionals offer experience in assessing business plans, managing virtual teams, and creating actionable strategies for growth.

cannabis cfo

Fractional CFO vs. Full-Time CFO Services

While a fractional CFO and a full-time CFO focuses on accelerating growth, the fractional CFO model comes with an assortment of benefits.

cannabis cfo

Full-Time vs. Fractional CFO Cost

Traditional CFO services are more costly on a month-to-month basis when compared to our fractional CFOs. This is because they provide CFO services, even when they might not be needed.

The fractional CFO model allows cannabis operations to overcome financial challenges as they arise. Rather than paying for a full-time CFO, you receive cost savings because you use the services as needed.

Not all cannabis businesses are ready to bring in a full-time team. Thus, hiring one in-house tends to be more expensive than most fractional CFOs.

However, fractional CFOs are ideal for many cannabis operations because these services give the business owner the capacity to scale up or down as needed. This freedom allows cannabusinesses the ability to overcome financial challenges like raising capital and cash management when needed. But it also helps with optimizing resources.

For example, your operation might need assistance from finance experts during the busier time of year. But when your growing business is having cash flow issues, you have the option to scale back the finance and accounting services for the time being.

fractional cfo faq

Fractional CFO FAQ

What is a fractional CFO?

A fractional CFO is a finance professional who partners with small businesses and large-scale operations to offer financial services. In the same manner as a full-time team, fractional CFOs provide business owners accounting expertise and financial guidance.

But because these professionals are only available part-time, they help you pursue growth strategies when your needs arise.

Why should I choose a fractional CFO over a full-time finance team?

By hiring Northstar as your fractional CFO partner, you get access to experienced accounting and financial professionals at a fraction of the cost. But what’s more, the connections we have acquired by working with the cannabis sector are conducive to scaling your operations.

Rather than hiring a freelancer to handle your accounting, you have a team dedicated to your success. Our industry connections make it easy to obtain the financing and other services your growing business needs to scale.

Let’s say your hope is to build your company to the point you can offer stock options. Or perhaps you need help creating and implementing a financial strategy that will work for your operation.

Strategic planning is our bread and butter, and since we’re knowledgeable about cannabis nuances, we can act as your trusted advisor every step of the way!

How much does a fractional CFO make?

You’re probably wondering how much a fractional CFO earns. This varies from industry to industry, as well as how much time they dedicate to each company.

The beauty of the fractional CFO model is that the individual can also work with other businesses. This means that rather than being limited to one company, a fractional CFO can service other businesses on a part-time basis.

Many fractional CFOs will work on a project basis. However, at Northstar, we want to be your long-term CFO partner instead. This means we get to know your company, the people that make it great, and your plans.

Whether you hope to make an exit strategy a few years down the road or want to build something sustainable, we’re here to help with expert accounting and other financial services on a fractional basis. Our mission is to set your company for scaling its operations as your fractional CFO partners.

cfo cannabis businessman

Why is a CFO a fractional?

So, why is a CFO a fractional CFO as opposed to a full-time accounting and finance expert? Some choose to become freelance CFOs for additional freedom. However, at Northstar, we believe that a fractional CFO stands to help most companies operating in cannabis with the specific challenges this industry presents.

Top companies operating in the cannabis space are overcoming obstacles daily. But what about the small business that’s just starting out? Or the small companies that have highs and lows throughout the year?

This is why we provide high-level fractional CFO services as opposed to full-time or interim CFO services.

Cash management is one of the most significant problems a cannabis business will face. But these operations still need a trusted advisor to lead board meetings, analyze current finances, and ensure exit strategies prioritized are on track in accordance with the company’s financial statements.

We want to make sure every cannabis business has access to a trusted advisor when a company needs a high-end CFO. General accounting is important, too. However, without specialization in the cannabis space, hundreds of millions of dollars can be lost as these organizations implement without the right guidance.

fractional cfo cannabis

Fractional CFO Financial Strategy for Cannabis

The fractional CFOs at Northstar work exclusively with businesses operating in cannabis. We understand how financial forecasts and financial strategy should work for this space.

Financial modeling for the cannabis sector must consider the specific financial challenges of this industry. This, of course, includes all compliance-related issues that can come up.

Optimizing cash flow is especially important for this space. And for large-scale organizations managing multiple companies in this industry, operational strategies, maximizing shareholder value, and planning for exit strategies are all important considerations for maximizing profitability.

For a privately held company with diverse management projects, private equity funding could be essential to financing real estate and other large purchases. But other diverse management projects within the company might need accounting and other financial services, too.

Northstar’s Fractional CFO Service

As your fractional CFO, we can serve as your interim CFO between hires. But we want to become your strategic planning partners long-term!

As your fractional CFO partners, your success is our priority. Rather than bringing in a full-time Chief Financial Officer, you’ll have our professional team focused on accelerating growth with a proper cannabis-specific financial strategy.

With Northstar, you never have to worry about compliance-related risks. We remain vigilant in our data acquisition, ensuring we always have the right answer at the right time.

Looking for a part-time CFO to help your cannabusiness navigate this space? Northstar is here to guide you!

Contact us now to find out how our services will help your cannabis operation scale in this budding space.

MMRSA (Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act) in California

MMRSA (Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act) in California

A 2016 bill – the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) – allows California to begin regulating the country’s oldest medical marijuana industry, which had been operating in a legal gray area. Now that these provisions are in place, medical marijuana businesses can operate with regulatory best practices in mind. But there’s a lot to understand as a business operator.

The state of California is working to make it easier for people who need medicinal cannabis by creating laws that allow dispensaries and other businesses involved with selling or growing medical cannabis more freedom regarding how they operate their business. These laws are also being passed to maintain some common-sense regulations within the state.

Nearly 20 years after Californians voted “yes” on Proposition 215 (1996) to make the use of pot medically acceptable under certain conditions, Governor Jerry Brown signed this legislation. It’s quite powerful, with a design that regulates an industry with an estimated annual value in the billions.

Between retail sales and related activities like transportation, cultivation, distribution, and testing services within his own jurisdiction. The new law went into effect on January 1, 2016.

But what exactly is the MMRSA?

In this article, we cover the ins and outs of the MMRSA. Everything you should know as medical marijuana business owners operating within state and local laws – including each licensing authority in charge of regulations – will be covered!

Operating a medical cannabis operation in California? Northstar is here to guide your success!

Contact us now to speak with one of our experts to learn how we’ll scale your operation in this budding space.

cultivation under the mmrsa california

The Importance of Medical Cannabis in America

Medical marijuana is a treatment that has substantial evidence that shows it works medicinally to improve the quality of life for sick and chronically ill patients.

Unfortunately, the morals of some people have hindered scientific progress. But even with this being the case, states throughout the country have implemented laws to ensure access to marijuana for medical purposes.

At this point, the medical marijuana industry needs more data highlighting the plant’s efficacy in treating various ailments. However, the current research reveals that using the plant can help some patients.

The History, Pharmacology, & Implications of Medical Cannabis

Medical marijuana regulation came long after the plant became commonplace for personal medical treatment. People began using and distributing medical cannabis as far back as 2900 BC when the Chinese emperor Fu Hsi recorded it as a popular treatment for public health that contains both aspects of yin and yang.

Delving into some research on how marijuana is used from a public health aspect, every content – besides Antarctica – possesses a documented history showing its application.

These days, in the United States, commercial medical cannabis activity has become somewhat commonplace. But it wasn’t always this way.

Long before the stigma, Jamestown, Virginia passed a law that required farmers to grow cannabis – without requiring cultivation licenses, of course. One of the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, is known to have grown, too. But eventually, Massachusetts became the first state to ban cannabis and cannabis products in 1911.

What Happened?

While there was some concern about controlled substances getting in the wrong hands, some people realized that there was money to be made off of cannabis by making it illegal – even for medical purposes.

Not long after it became illegal, infamous propaganda films were released to instill fear into the American public. But none is more infamous than Reefer Madness.

By 1937, illegal possession was a crime, and the first documented conviction for selling marijuana happened under United States Federal Law.

The propaganda developed a stigma surrounding the plant. But people continued to use it recreationally and for healing purposes, despite the government refusing to permit cultivation and sales.

Fast forward to the present and we see how much progress has been made with medical marijuana regulation and legalization through the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.

Medical Cannabis Regulation: Why?

Medical marijuana regulation is essential for this industry. Without these state and local governments’ regulations in place, it’s nearly impossible for law enforcement officers to do their jobs effectively. Ultimately, a local government will have the last say in how these businesses can operate in an area.

Similar to pharmaceuticals, patients need to be assured of the quality and safety of products they’re receiving. A new law, which has just recently gone into effect this year, is set out to ensure that protection.

While a local ordinance can ensure law enforcement handles consumer affairs with a health and safety code in place, localities can still ban medical marijuana cultivation and sales. However, deliveries are usually still permitted to patients.

State and local agencies have been tasked with medical cannabis regulation. But in California, the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act directs the California department (Department of Cannabis Control) is responsible for handling consumer affairs for personal medical use marijuana products and enforcing the health and safety code.

What is the MMRSA?

The MMRSA is also known as the California Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA). Through this legislation, California’s local government established comprehensive regulations and standards to govern almost all aspects of California’s medical cannabis industry. From taxation to licensing, quality control, packaging, shipping, and standards for cultivation, the MMRSA is the go-to regulation and safety act for insight into how medical cannabis businesses must operate. This, of course, includes manufacturers and distributors of medical cannabis products.

The MMRSA is composed of three laws, Assembly Bill 266Assembly Bill 243, and Senate Bill 643. The following are summaries of the provisions these three laws offer:

AB 266

AB 266 established the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation under the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The Bureau keeps track of commercial cannabis activity. This includes tracking licensees and handling the annual report for the movement of cannabis and cannabis-related products.

AB 266 also establishes 17 different license types for marijuana producers, testing facilities, dispensaries, distributors, and transporters. These include the following local license options:

1.Type 1 = Cultivation; Specialty outdoor; Up to 5,000 square feet of canopy, or up to 50 noncontiguous plants.

2.Type 1A = Cultivation; Specialty indoor; Up to 5000 square feet.

3.Type 1B = Cultivation; Specialty mixed-light; Using exclusively artificial lighting.

4.Type 2 = Cultivation; Outdoor. Up to 5000 square feet; Using a combination of artificial and natural lighting.

5.Type 2A = Cultivation; Indoor; 5001 -10,000 square feet.

6.Type 2B = Cultivation; Mixed-light. 5001 -10,000 square feet.

7.Type 3 = Cultivation; Outdoor. 10,001 square feet – 1 Acre.

8.Type 3A = Cultivation; Indoor. 10,001 – 22,000 square feet.

9.Type 3B = Cultivation; Mixed-light. 10,001 – 22,000 square feet.

10.Type 4 = Cultivation; Nursery.

11.Type 6 = Manufacturer 1 for products that don’t use volatile solvents.

12.Type 7 = Manufacturer 2 for products that use volatile solvents.

13.Type 8 = Testing.

14.Type 10 = Dispensary; General.

15.Type 10A = Dispensary; No more than three retail sites.

16.Type 11 = Distribution.

17.Type 12 = Transporter.

For medical marijuana cultivators, the licensing authority also sets a maximum allowable size for cultivation operations that aligns with the type of license obtained. The law also prevents vertical integration for licensees’ businesses by only allowing operations to hold licenses in up to two separate categories.

The regulatory California department also places quality control restrictions on adult use and medical marijuana. But these restrictions are currently being developed.

The California legislature limits distributors on the content of cannabinoids, contaminants, microbiological impurities, and other compounds. But at this point, the standards have not been fully developed by the California Department of Public Health. The state also includes a provision for a new fee for testing that the distributors must charge to cover any new taxes that might be imposed on these controlled substances in the future.

AB 266 also establishes a set of written laws that highlight which actions performed by licensees are permitted by a state license and local government. This means that these actions are no longer prohibited under state law to offer the licensee protection from legal repercussions. It also offers provisions for older facilities that were in compliance with the laws in place on or before January 1, 2018. This makes it so these facilities can continue their operations until their licenses are either approved or denied.

AB 266 also has rules in place to regulate cannabis deliveries that demand documentation for each delivery. The licensee must maintain a physical copy of their delivery requests during deliveries. This needs to be made available any time a law enforcement officer requests it, as required by the California licensing authority.

Furthermore, all dispensaries offering medical cannabis or medical cannabis product delivery must have their employees carry a copy of the dispensary’s license, as well as their government-issued identification.

Deliveries are only permitted by licensed transporters to qualified patients and dispensaries in cities and counties that do not prohibit deliveries by local ordinances.

However, equally important is the fact that deliveries can be taxed by the local jurisdiction. The law also offers some protection for patient and caregiver privacy, giving them confidentiality for their names and medical conditions.

AB 243 & Senate Bill 643

AB 243 and Senate Bill 643 grant the California Department of Food and Agriculture (DFA) the responsibility to regulate marijuana cultivation. The California Department of Public Health has the task of creating the standards for edible manufacturing, testing, production, and labeling.

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation also has the responsibility to develop the standards for pesticide regulation in marijuana cultivation. This California department ensures that anyone with a state license to grow medical marijuana does so without threatening public health.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California State Water Resources Control Board work on the development of measures that protect water quality that could be impacted by adult-use and medical marijuana cultivation. Each California department plays its role in ensuring anyone who has a state license to cultivate recreational or medical marijuana does so without adversely impacting the environment.

The DFA also created a track and trace program for all adult-use and medical marijuana plants at cultivation sites. It also put civil penalties in place for cultivation operations that violate any of these provisions. However, qualified patients can be exempt from the track and trace program if they cultivate their own plants in an area that’s less than 100 square feet for personal medical use. A primary caregiver who has five or fewer in their patient collectives is allowed to grow plants in a proposed location of up to 500 square feet, as well.

Thus, primary caregivers must be wary of how many plants they grow under the Compassionate Use Act, particularly if they do not operate a licensed facility.

Senate Bill 643 also outlines qualifications for licensing. This includes proof of local approval. Applicants must also undergo a DOJ background check at a Public Live Scan Site. These qualifications allow for-profit entities to operate.

New cultivation and dispensary facilities cannot be located in school zones. They must be at least 600 feet away from schools.

Senate Bill 643 also includes several provisions regarding attending physician recommendations. However, these provisions do not significantly impact or impair a patient’s ability to access medicinal marijuana. The Medical Board must consult with the California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to develop the medical guidelines for medicinal marijuana recommendations, as well.

Physicians are not allowed to make medical recommendations to patients if the physician or a family member has a financial interest in a licensed medical cannabis facility. Physicians also must include a warning notice telling patients that medical marijuana is still a controlled Schedule I substance at the federal level.

Organic Standards for Cannabis Production Through Senate Bill 643

Through the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, the following information outlines organic regulations for medical cannabis products:

(a) The CDFA licensing authority for medicinal marijuana was also tasked to make available a certified organic designation and organic certification program for medical marijuana no later than January 1, 2020. However, it must be allowed under federal law, along with the National Organic Program and Article 7 of Chapter 5 of Part 5 of Division 104 of the Health and Safety Code.

(b) The bureau can establish appellations of origin for all cannabis grown in California.

(c) It’s illegal for medical marijuana to be marketed, labeled, or sold as grown in a California county if the medical marijuana wasn’t cultivated in that county in accordance with the local ordinance.

(d) It is unlawful to use the name of a California county in the labeling, marketing, or packaging of medical marijuana products unless the product was grown in that county.

Vertical Integration Under MMRSA

The MMRSA established the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation and formed the state’s system for medicinal marijuana business licensing. Later on, the law was changed through several small bills and renamed the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA). After the state legalized adult-use marijuana, it combined licensing structures for medicinal and recreational operations through the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA).

Ganjapreneurs interested in operating for-profit medical marijuana businesses in California need to get the right license. The license must be for a specific niche in the cannabis sector. For example, manufacturing, cultivation, testing, distribution, etc.

Some people would like their operations to work at multiple stages in the supply chain. For instance, a dispensary might want to grow and distribute marijuana products themselves. However, specific rules and complex licensing demands in place allow these operations to work at several levels in the distribution chain.

Limitations for Vertical Integration Under MCRSA/MMRSA

The MCRSA allows businesses to apply for 17 types of commercial licenses, as discussed above. The MAUCRSA now permits at least 20 types of licenses with each license focused on a certain stage of production.

Businesses interested in operating at multiple stages of production need to hold all of the right licenses to operate vertically. However, the general rule of the MCRSA is that licensees can only hold licenses in up to two different license categories.

Vertical Integration Under MAUCRSA

As of January 1, 2018, the MAUCRSA changed Cali’s marijuana licensing structure. These alterations combined medicinal and non-medicinal licensing structures to revise various MCRSA provisions. Through the MAUCRSA, some restrictions regarding vertical integration were repealed. Thus, single licensees are now allowed to own multiple licenses with some restrictions still in place.

Even though single individuals are now able to hold more than two licenses, they have to operate as separate and distinct businesses. Furthermore, some combinations are still prohibited.

Since testing sites can’t have other types of licenses, this causes a dilemma for some. Large-scale commercial growers are also not allowed to have a distributor license or a micro-business license. Vertical integration is also something some local city and county ordinances can ban.

How Licensing Works Under MMRSA

  1. Businesses that have both been in operation and in good standing with their localities before 2016 have priority to receive their licenses.
  2. Applicants must obtain a permit from their city or county before obtaining a license from the state of California before they can operate a cannabis business. Both are necessary to comply with the new commercial cannabis laws. For example, state licensure still requires a local permit, just as someone with a locally granted permit must have state licensure.
  3. Even though local jurisdictions can change their ordinances to allow or ban medical marijuana licenses for business operations, all of these localities must still adhere to the minimum standards established by the MMRSA and the state of California.
  4. The law creates seventeen types of commercial licenses. Whether an operation can get one of these licenses depends on if the cannabis is cultivated indoors or outdoors, as well as the size of the operation and the amount of medical cannabis cultivated.
  5. Some limitations exist regarding the types and number of licenses that one licensee can hold. Generally speaking, the new laws allow licensees to only hold a state license in up to two separate license categories. Equally important to consider is the fact that a licensee cannot hold an ownership interest in real property, personal property, or any other assets connected with another license category.
  6. Licensees also cannot be licensed to sell alcoholic beverages as a retailer.
  7. Licenses are valid for a year from the date they’re issued. These licenses must be renewed annually for the licensee to continue lawful commercial cannabis operations.
  8. Businesses that were previously granted permission to cultivate, manufacture, and dispense cannabis or cannabis products under one permit may receive an exception. Also important to note is that there are several requirements in place. The most important of these demands is that the business must have continuously complied with local ordinances without interruption before July 1, 2015.

Safety Act Compliance

Both a state license and local permission are essential for cannabis operations to comply with the MMRSA. But changes to the rules will continue, and it’s essential to remain diligent in how these alterations might impact your operation.

This is why it helps to have a team monitoring the legislative changes throughout California state and the locality in which you operate.

Operating a medical cannabis business in California? Northstar is here to successfully scale your operation!

Contact us now to speak with one of our experts to learn how our financial services will grow your business in this budding sector.

If you liked this article, make sure to check out our other articles, too!

California Cannabis CPA Accounting Services

California Cannabis CPA Accounting Services

More often than not, cashing in on the cannabis industry can be tricky, especially when you’re new to this type of business.  It is also very likely that you’ll need assistance with organizing and filing your taxes if you come from a background in non-cannabis-related businesses.

Keep reading to learn how our experts minimize tax liability and maximize cannabis company profits with the right systems and procedures in place.

Looking for a cannabis CPA in California? Let Northstar lead the way!

Contact us now to speak with one of our tax and accounting experts about how to scale your operation with financial expertise.

california cannabis cpa

What is a Cannabis CPA?

A cannabis CPA offers tax and financial services for the people and companies operating in the legalized medical and recreational cannabis spaces in states throughout the country. These services involve handling taxes, business structuring, and obtaining financial support.

What does a cannabis CPA firm do for cannabis CEOs?

A CPA that exclusively serves cannabis companies understands the industry and the federal and local laws surrounding it. It’s always best to go with a specialized cannabis CPA firm as cannabis companies need more than generalized tax services.

The cannabis industry is a special sector, and as such, it demands industry expertise to ensure compliance. Accounting from public accounting firms has the potential to cause problems, even with something as simple as tax preparation.

While working with a cannabis CPA firm, cannabis CEOs partner with an accounting firm that understands cannabis accounting. From tax services to assurance services, someone who specializes in cannabis accounting will provide the proper guidance to ensure compliance with internal controls and industry-specific professional advice.

How do these ancillary services help cannabis CEOs scale their operations?

Cannabis accounting is a specialized field and should be treated as such. While the federal government has placed various restrictions on our cannabis clients, our mission is to handle all regulatory challenges in place to ensure appropriate tax planning and other services to cannabis companies.

Cannabis CEOs can rest assured that federal-level accounting issues never become a problem. By working with Northstar, CEOs operating in this industry are guaranteed compliance and ensure their businesses are always audit-ready.

The California Board of Accountancy (CBA) on Cannabis

The California Board of Accountancy (CBA) on Cannabis

The California Board of Accountancy (CBA) understands that a certified public accountant interested in providing accounting or advisory services to cannabis-related industries will need to understand this space. However, some advisory firms also have an interest in operating with cannabis clients.

At this point, the CBA is not able to issue legal opinions on cannabis accounting services. With this being the case, no position statement is to be issued by the CBA on this topic.

However, the CBA has issued some insight into operating a CPA firm that serves the cannabis industry. Here’s a quick FAQ that answers questions an industry-specific CPA firm might ask:

CBA Cannabis Industry CPA Firm FAQ

What is the new California law about cannabis that just passed?

California Governor signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1525, which took effect January 1, 2021. This bill provides a safe harbor for licensed individuals or firms that practice accounting if they render services to California’s cannabis industry.

The bill states that authorized persons or entities do not commit a crime under California law if they receive deposits or provide transportation and financial services to people licensed in commercial cannabis activity. However, the authorizations can be rescinded by the licensee at any time.

Can we accept a Licensed Cannabis Business as a client?

AB 1525 will take effect on January 1, 2021, and it provides that those who practice as a Certified Public Accountant in California can offer services to cannabis entities without it being considered criminal.

What are the potential risks of providing services to a Licensed Cannabis Business?

While it is legal to use cannabis products from state-licensed businesses in California and more than half the other individual states, they remain illegal federally.

Federal law states that any entity that supports illegal activity or accepts fees from it is engaging in racketeering. This means accounting firms, banks, insurance companies, and financial institutions may be breaking federal laws by doing this. It’s important to consult legal counsel before entering into such an arrangement because of the consequences.

Any other factors to consider when choosing to accept a Cannabis client?

In August 2016, the 9th Circuit Court ruled that medical marijuana laws are legal in accordance with state law. The federal government cannot prosecute people who grow and distribute medicinal marijuana under state laws because it would be unconstitutional to do so.

The decision to allow medical marijuana in the state of Arizona was based on a few factors. One factor is that Congress has passed laws preventing federal agencies from interfering with states’ implementation of their own statutes regarding medical marijuana.

As the differences between states and federal laws persist, Certified Public Accountants (CPA) are becoming more concerned with their professional liability insurance policies. In order to reduce the risk of a lawsuit or claim against them, CPAs should take note that there may be exclusions in their policies.

Cannabis Companies & Federal Law

Cannabis Companies & Federal Law

Cannabis companies must comply with state and federal law. But when it comes to laws at the federal level, cannabis accounting firms must know how to navigate them appropriately.

Business expenses for adult-use and medical marijuana-related operations are the same in both of these spaces. However, when it comes to deductions for expenses, these operations need a crafty accounting method to minimize tax liability.

As mentioned earlier, public accounting firms can cause problems with things as simple as tax preparation or filing returns. Accountants may be unwilling to work with companies working with or selling cannabis due to a lack of education and knowledge about the industry.

Accounting Services for Cannabis Business in Cali

Our cannabis accounting firm has a combined 120+ experience working with cannabis. As a full-service financial firm, we handle everything accounting-related for our clients.

From tax planning and compliance advisory services to ensuring our clients are committed to compliant practices, we’re here to help any legal business operators working in the cannabis industry.

Financial Services for the Cannabis Industry

Bookkeeping & Internal Accounting

We encourage efficiency and increase scalability long-term with our virtual accounting and tax offerings.

Here’s what you can expect:
  • Comprehensive & up-to-date books to offer the IRS everything they need to see in case of an audit.
  • Historical financial records cleanup to ensure all taxes and money owed have been handled appropriately.
  • Monthly reconciliation pack to ensure audit & investor readiness that helps companies bypass potentially critical issues.
  • Auditable & accurate cost accounting, including payroll management and other aspects of your operation that the IRS wants to see in your documentation.
  • Present monthly financial statements to keep the focus on your company’s success.

Controllership, Financial Processes, & Controls

The economic impact of COVID-19 has made these business accounting services more important than ever. With these our expertise in the cannabis sector, your business will meet its financial goals through improved governance and due diligence.

Here’s what you can expect:
  • Optimize financial systems in preparation for tax season.
  • Create & manage financial policies & procedures.
  • Internal & external audit preparation to satisfy the IRS and minimize tax liabilities.
  • ERP and IT system integrations to maintain adequate records of everything from the cost of goods sold to taxes.
  • Assess & manage financial risks to minimize tax liability and optimize money.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) & Treasury

Northstar provides value to your business by improving inefficiencies, reduce expenses & enhancing earnings.

Here’s what you can expect:
  • Accounting and financial oversight for your cannabis business.
  • Cash-flow planning & management for your business.
  • Financial modeling & forecasting to set a roadmap for your business.
  • Key performance indicators & MIS dashboards to keep your business on track for success.
  • Strategic financial insight & analysis to keep the focus on your goals.

Investor & Board Management

Northstar gives advice and increases confidence for shareholders, board members, and company leadership. This leads to reliable partners that trust in your business as operators incorporate strategies that scale.

Here’s what you can expect:
  • Annual & interim reporting for sales, pay, distribution, and more.
  • Quarterly financials & business updates for the account.
  • Financial interface for board members & investors to focus on the success of the operation.
  • Board representation for partners.
  • Business decision support for everything, from costs and payroll to taxation, and more.

Fundraising & Development

Besides tax- and accounting-related services, Northstar will help you meet your short- and long-term capital goals. By structuring beneficial transactions and establishing crucial relationships, your operation will thrive.

Here’s what you can expect:
  • Robust financial modeling, equity valuation & capital-raising strategies.
  • M&A and strategic exit insight.
  • IPO support every step of the way.
  • Due diligence oversight to ensure the best decisions every time.
  • Business plans & investor pitch decks to showcase your operation to investors.

CEO Strategic Advisor

Northstar shapes and implements strategies to drive long-term profitability and support CEOs while enabling them to focus on their core mission: growing their cannabis businesses.

Here’s what you can expect:
  • Advice on business strategy.
  • Counseling on cash flow and capital structure.
  • Supporting/challenging business decisions for when you need it most.
  • Conveying business performance and concerns to the Board.

Cannabis Industry Success with Financial Services

Working with Northstar is easy. Visiting our website is the first step. Now it’s time to book your free consultation.

Schedule a time to speak with one of our experts and provide us with some insight into your operation. We’ll then develop the best strategy for your business.

Next, we’ll create customized solutions for your review. Once you’re happy with the plan, we’ll begin implementing it immediately.

Now it’s time to scale your business. The right systems, processes, and financial support will set your business up for ultimate success!

The Guidance Cannabis Businesses Need to Succeed

Looking to scale your cannabis company’s operations? Northstar is here to lead the way!

Contact us now to speak with one of our experts about how our California cannabis CPA services will grow your business in this budding space!

If you liked this article, make sure to check out our other articles, too!

Cannabis Banking California Insight

Cannabis Banking California Insight

The California cannabis industry has not come this far without feeling some growing pains. But, besides state law overregulating this industry, even a business operating with California law in mind has a serious obstacle to overcome.

Of course, we’re talking about the banking situation.

The Cannabis Industry Banking Dilemma

The financial relationship between cannabis operations and the finance industry has been strained. Due to the legal implications put in place at the federal level, banks and credit unions have not been able to provide safe harbor for these operations.

But as legal cannabis has expanded, more banks and credit unions have begun providing services that aim to enhance legal business in this industry. Even without the full support of President Joe Biden, California law has become more progressive for the legal cannabis space.

In this article, we discuss how California state laws regarding the financial industry have changed. While a business operating in cannabis used to have to operate on a cash basis, we see California opening the industry with its bill, the SAFE Act.

Looking for financial services to scale your business in California? Northstar understands that these services are core business necessities!

Stop operating on a cash basis! Contact us now to learn how we can provide a safe harbor for your business in the cannabis space.

Banking Options for Cannabis Businesses

Banking Options for Cannabis Businesses

Recently, the House approved a cannabis banking bill that has the potential to expand California’s cannabis industry. This legislation lets banks provide financial services to cannabis businesses in states that have already legalized cannabis.

The bill clarifies that the money earned by legitimate cannabis businesses is not illegal, directing federal regulators to create rules regarding how they will supervise cannabis banking activity.

Historically speaking, many banks have refused to work with cannabis companies. It’s even been a challenge to find a credit union willing to work with cannabis!

These financial institutions justifiably feared they could violate federal laws by working with cannabis operators, despite the existence of the legal cannabis industry.

With this being the case, few options – besides operating on a cash basis – were available for cannabis companies. Only a few financial institutions were willing to offer banking services, which meant many had to conduct business in cash.

What is the Safe Banking Act 2021?

The SAFE Banking Act of 2021 was a bill that the American Bankers Association lobbied aggressively to pass. This group wrote the following to lawmakers:

“Banks find themselves in a difficult situation due to the conflict between state and federal law, with local communities encouraging them to bank cannabis businesses and federal law prohibiting it. Congress must act to resolve this conflict.”

Through the SAFE Banking Act, the cannabis industry obtains access to banking services and other financial services. Financial institutions no longer have to fear that they’ll get penalized for providing these banking services to legitimate cannabis businesses.

Now that the SAFE Banking Act has passed, California cannabis businesses have more options for financial services than ever before. Rather than being limited to a handful of financial institutions and credit unions, those operating in the state’s cannabis industry have more accessible options in the banking industry.

California cannabis industry association on banking

California Cannabis Industry Association on Banking

Giving businesses the ability to access loans and other banking services is essential for any company. But for a cannabis business operator, these services have been hard to come by.

Due to the Controlled Substances Act that the federal government put in place, state financial institutions and credit unions have been hesitant to take on cannabis clients.

Handling marijuana-linked money is scary for other financial institutions, including many California banks. But despite many banking institutions refusing to work with adult-use and medical cannabis business operators, California law has enabled more access to banking services for the marijuana industry.

CCIA Partnership with North Bay Credit Union

The California Cannabis Industry Association has also announced its exclusive partnership with the North Bay Credit Union. Through this partnership, CCIA members have direct access to banking, which has allowed licensed cannabis businesses the opportunity to get the banking services they need.

The struggle to pay staff and vendors without access to financial institutions encouraged this partnership. Even though many cannabis companies operate compliant businesses, they lacked access to banking.

The CCIA, a state and federally registered nonprofit trade association, lost its third bank account in a year during 2017. The association then decided to partner with the NBCU to gain access to the financial services it had been denied.

Through this partnership, members of the CCIA were able to bypass the financial institutions that refused to provide marijuana companies with wire transfers, ACH processing, and other banking services. Now, members of the CCIA have various banking options, including access to:

  • Checking accounts
  • Online bill payment
  • Wire transfers and ACH processing

Even the employees of CCIA members have access to these services if they join as individual members of this credit union.

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Marijuana Banking Update

According to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEM), the number of financial institutions banking for licensed cannabis businesses has shown a slight decline since the 1st Quarter FY2020 (December). This began with the release of FinCEN’s guidance for providing financial services to those operating hemp-related businesses.

However, it’s possible that the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing this decline for the following reasons:

  • Many adult-use cannabis and medical marijuana dispensary operations have ceased operations because of government-imposed quarantine restrictions.
  • Even though the 90-day window for filing Suspicious Activity Reports is still in place, more financial institutions lack the staffing needed to file these reports efficiently. This has caused delays.

Cannabis Industry Banking FAQ

Can dispensaries in California use banks?

Since financial institutions are at risk while offering services to dispensaries, many choose to avoid working with them.

Thus, many California dispensaries have not been able to use direct deposit, checks, and credit card transactions. But what’s worse is how many dispensaries have had to resort to solely accepting cash or cryptocurrency.

Will banks finance cannabis?

Traditional banks are not willing to lend to Cali cannabis businesses. With this being the case, federal legalization could change this. But with the Safe Banking Act’s passing, cannabis businesses can now find reliable capital sources.

Concluding on Cannabis Banking in California

Whether you operate in Santa Rosa or Los Angeles, banking has likely been an issue for you if you operate a cannabis business. But with the passing of the Safe Banking Act, the industry now has more options than ever before.

Since the passage of this bill, more financial institutions have begun offering services to cannabis companies. But it’s important to be aware that many individuals within these institutions still have mixed feelings about supporting dispensaries.

Nevertheless, California cannabis business owners should keep their eye on the future. With more banks finally willing to work with them, prospects are looking brighter than ever before.

Interested in scaling your California marijuana business? Your experts at Northstar are ready to help!

Contact us now to learn how our financial services will expand your operations and minimize your tax liability in California.

We noticed you enjoyed reading about cannabis banking in California. If you liked this article, make sure to check out these other articles, too!

Is Weed Legal in New York?

Is Weed Legal in New York?

Consumers and interested business operators in New York are all wondering whether or not marijuana is legal in New York.

The short answer is “yes.”

But what does this mean for consumers and cannabis business operators interested in the state’s newly-formed recreational marijuana space?

This article will serve as a guide for consumers and business operators interested in adult-use marijuana regulation. Let’s go over what’s happening in New York now that New Yorkers can buy, possess, and sell marijuana.

Looking to scale your legal cannabusiness in New York? Let Northstar lead the way!

Grow your operation in this budding industry now. Contact us now to speak with one of our experts about how our financial services will help.

weed is legal in new york

Marijuana is Legal in New York, Now What?

According to a statement given by Governor Cuomo, “Legalizing cannabis was the first step in this historic endeavor to right the wrongs of the past.”

Whether you’re a consumer or interested in operating a cannabis business in New York, you’re going to have to wait until 2022 to experience the state’s full-fledged recreational cannabis sector. But equally important to know is that medical cannabis is still legal, and New Yorkers 21 years of age or older are allowed to possess and consume recreational marijuana.

Cuomo's Signature Effectively Changed New York

Cuomo’s Signature Effectively Changed New York

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) that legalized adult-use marijuana for New Yorkers on March 31, 2021. This expanded New York’s medical marijuana program, effectively adding to the list of medical conditions that qualify New Yorkers for medical marijuana.

What’s Allowed?

At this point, the program does not allow cannabis flower. But this new update might lift flower prohibition.

Most importantly for consumers, possession is no longer a crime. Since legalization, personal possession of cannabis, up to a certain weight, is permitted. So for those who enjoy smoking a bit here and there – or a lot – the new laws aim to decriminalize possession and ensure that personal smoking and consumption are no longer criminal offenses.

how much weed can consumers possess

How Much Can Consumers Possess?

The laws allow New Yorkers to possess as much as three ounces of cannabis or up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis. But just because consumers can hold ounces up to 3 ounces of cannabis or 24 grams of concentrated cannabis for personal use doesn’t mean they will.

The law now allows possession. With this being the law that was historically used to target people of color, it’s incredible to see this shift with legalization.

We no longer have to worry about people getting stopped by the police for smoking a joint. This legislation even makes public consumption legal in areas people smoke cigarettes.

People can also make their own concentrated cannabis if they decide to grow up to three mature cannabis plants and three immature cannabis plants as part of the home cultivation allocation.

That’s right. New Yorker natives are even allowed to grow several plants per household as part of home cultivation. While federal law doesn’t allow it, the state allows a certain number of plants per household.

So, if a local decides to grow and make concentrated cannabis, it’s legal at this point. However, once businesses begin operating, it’s likely that most consumers will search for a local dispensary.

Simply put, New York natives can now grow cannabis at home. Delivery services are allowed, and consumption lounges will be a part of New York’s cannabis legalization.

Let’s not forget that criminal records will get expunged. All in all, marijuana-related businesses and consumers have a lot to gain from this new law.

The Marijuana Regulation Mission in NY police lights

The Marijuana Regulation Mission in NY

With marijuana regulation in New York, the mission is to promote social equity. This is why the law will encourage social equity applicants to obtain 50% of the licenses.

Social equity applicants include New Yorkers who come from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs, service-disabled veterans, women, and small distressed farmers.

Cannabis products will have a 13% sales tax placed on them. This includes 9% to the state and 4% to the local municipality. There will also be an excise tax aligned with how many milligrams of THC is in the marijuana products.

The new bill also created the state’s Office of Cannabis Management, along with a Cannabis Control Board. These two entities will be in charge of regulating the cannabis space in New York.

New York Office of Cannabis Management

The MRTA established the Office of Cannabis Management. This agency will implement a regulatory framework for the state’s cannabis and hemp space.

So far, the Governor estimates that the agency has taken in $83 million in tax revenue from retail throughout 2021, and he expects this to increase to $300 million by the time its provisions are fully implemented for adults interested in buying the drug in 2023.

OCM Website Launch

The Office of Cannabis Management launched its website in April 2021 to offer resources to consumers and business operators in the cannabis space. This website offers information on the regulatory structure of the Office of Cannabis Management, which, along with the Cannabis Control Board, will handle the licensure, production, distribution, sale, cultivation, and taxation of all adult-use and medicinal weed within the state.

Through this website, New York residents can find medicinal cannabis practitioners, caregivers, and IDs. But what’s more is the fact that retail businesses and other operations looking for licenses to participate in the state’s adult-use, medicinal, and cannabinoid hemp industries can find more information there.

New York Cannabis Control Board

New York’s Cannabis Control Board is still waiting to be formed. At this point, there’s a hunt underway for CCB members.

Once the board is ready, it will start to build out the details of the state’s cannabis space. But for now, we don’t have much to go on.

Here’s a quote from the Deputy Communications Director, Jason Gough:

“The administration is actively working to ensure the OCM and the Cannabis Control Board can begin implementing a safe, equitable, and transparent adult-use cannabis industry as soon as possible. The Governor is committed to appointing individuals with diverse experiences and subject matter expertise, who are representative of communities from across the state.”

Once established, the CCB will handle all areas regarding the state’s cannabis sector, including the packaging, marketing, production, and sale of marijuana.

Employers will also need to understand the legality of marijuana with the state. Recreational use is permitted, meaning the law allows consumers to use cannabis without issue. Gough touches upon this in the following statement:

“Once the Cannabis Control Board is in place, the Office will be officially formed and can begin promulgating regulations to implement the MRTA, including provisions outlining cannabis product requirements, ensuring industry access for small businesses and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs and opportunities for legacy operators and people with past cannabis convictions.”

However, experts believe it may take up to two years to finalize the regulations created by the Board.

NY Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) Explained

Prohibiting marijuana in New York State has been ineffective, to say the least. Rather than ceasing marijuana use throughout the state, New Yorkers have continued to use marijuana despite its prohibition.

The illicit marijuana industry has thrived in New York under prohibition. But the hope is that with the MRTA, the state will have a profitable recreational cannabis space for New Yorkers who are 21 and older.

Over the years, the illegal nature of cannabis in New York State has hurt people. The growth of this illicit industry has resulted in disproportionately focused adverse impacts on communities of color, as well.

MRTA Mission

Through the MRTA, the goal is to address the negative impacts of the failed former policy. This act will create a responsible and well-regulated cannabis industry by encouraging licenses and legal dispensary operations.

The industry will generate millions of dollars in tax revenue that will not only strengthen the New York State economy, but support communities that have felt the most significant effects of marijuana prohibition.

MRTA Regulatory Implementations

The taxation act MRTA will implement legalizes the production, use, and distribution of marijuana.

While it’s not federal law, the bill takes cannabis plants and products out of the New York Controlled Substances Act and permits the regulation of marijuana with supervision from the Liquor Authority of New York State.

With this legislation, the distribution and use of cannabis and cannabis products will be regulated in a way that’s comparable to the way tobacco and alcohol are regulated.

Legislative Goals of MRTA Summarized

Here’s a list of what this legislation aims to achieve:

  • Establish the Office of Cannabis Management
  • Expand New York’s Existing Medical Program
  • Establish a Licensing System
  • Create a Social & Economic Equity Program that Encourages Individuals Disproportionately Impacted by Cannabis Enforcement to Participate in Industry
  • Tax Collection Projected to Reach or Exceed $350 Million Annually & Potentially Create 30,000 to 60,000 Jobs

Weed Is Legal in New York: What an Opportunity!

If you currently operate a cannabusiness in New York or are considering opening one now that legalization has happened, now is the time to focus. The opportunities are seemingly endless, and as the consumer base grows throughout the state, we can expect legalization to continue encouraging this market to expand.

Whether consumers are smoking cannabis for health purposes or recreationally, dispensaries can expect the formerly illegal drug to bring in the big bucks. Scaling these operations will become even easier once federal legalization passes.

But for now, dispensaries will have to focus on the local market. Scaling in conjunction with state laws is essential, and once the market becomes more mature, we can expect its health to expand.

Since adults no longer need to worry about penalties for using this drug, sales are increasing. And as sales increase, we can expect the health of this market to continue.

Scale Your New York Cannabusiness Now

The opportunities are here, and we’re ready to help. If you’re interested in scaling your New York marijuana business to obtain a larger share of the market, Northstar is here to lead the way!

Contact us now to find out how financial services will expand your operation’s success in this budding market. Our experts are here and ready to help!

We see you’re looking for more information about state laws on cannabis. Make sure to check out these other articles too:

New York Weed Laws in 2021

New York Marijuana Legalization: One of the Most Progressive Laws in America

New York’s Off-Duty Conduct Law: A Win for the Cannabis Industry

New Jersey Marijuana Laws: Big Changes Coming

Michigan Cannabis Law News: Rule & Regulatory Updates

All You Need to Know About Cannabis in Michigan in 2021 Continued

Michigan Cannabis Law & Legality in 2021

States That Could Legalize Cannabis in 2021

Virginia Marijuana Laws, Penalties, & Sales

Cannabis Financing Ideas to Scale

Cannabis Financing Ideas to Scale

Whether you’ve recently decided to start a cannabis business or have been in the industry for years, raising capital can be one of the most challenging aspects of the entrepreneurial experience. However, it’s particularly difficult to finance cannabis businesses because the industry is still gaining its footing.

But why?

The cannabis industry is still very young, and there are ways that entrepreneurs are getting creative with financing ventures. In this article, we explain how you can use cannabis financing effectively, cannabis business lenders and investors, loan types, and more.

Looking for expert assistance managing your cannabis business’s financials? Northstar is here to guide your success!

Contact us now for the help you need to ensure consistent cash flow and successful scaling.

cannabis financing flower notes

How to Use Cannabis Financing

Cannabis financing is just now taking off in this young industry. Funding is essential for development, and for those who don’t have deep pockets, finding a source of cannabis business funding is crucial for success.

But acquiring a cannabis business loan is only part of the complexities surrounding this topic.

Cannabis business owners that obtain a cannabis business loan need to have a plan to become profitable. Or, if the operation is already turning a profit, how to increase those profits to ensure any cannabis loans can be paid back while scaling those profits.

Have you considered how to effectively utilize your cannabis business loan to ensure success? Here are some ideas marijuana businesses can utilize:

cannabis facility construction

Facility Construction

Whether cannabis businesses focus on recreational marijuana, medical marijuana, or operate as one of the many ancillary cannabis companies, facility construction can play a role in operational success.

Cannabis business owners are unlikely to find a facility that’s completely ready to operate. While the facility might come close to perfection, some investment will be essential to ensure it’s ready to operate – unless it’s an M&A for an established operation, of course.

However, if you’ve already found your property and need to build a facility, this will cost money. Your facility will need to meet the needs of your cannabis business, and allocating some – or even all – of your business loan may be essential to ensure your business can begin operating.

hiring more staff with cannabis financing

To Hire More Staff

Solopreneurs aren’t common in cannabis. Most of the time, financial institutions willing to offer a small business loan to cannabis business operators will want to learn more about your team before offering to finance your cannabis business.

However, even with a winning team in your corner, hiring more staff can facilitate multiple areas of growth for your business. With this in mind, it may make sense to obtain a loan and use some of the proceeds to hire staff – particularly, technical staff if it’s not an area you’re familiar with yourself.

social media marketing using cannabis loan

Marketing & Advertising

Cannabis business loans are also allocatable towards marketing and advertising cannabis businesses.

Even if you have a marketing budget, think about how your business will spend its dollars wisely – and whether it’s necessary to pay for all of that marketing or if attracting more customers can be done with less investment out of your business’ budget.

This can also apply to any ancillary cannabis-related businesses. Pushing business financing towards marketing and advertising has the potential to give a cannabis business the fuel it needs to succeed, and if it results in an excellent ROI, it becomes easy to justify the expense.

improving cash flow with a cannabis business loan

Manage Cannabis Business Cash Flow

Business cash flow is a concern for any business owner. But for cannabis business funding, it becomes even more essential to consider.

Cash flow is the money that comes in and out of a business on a regular basis. For businesses operating in this space, this can be especially useful when it comes to paying for inventory – and if you have trouble funding your business with your current revenue, managing your business cash flow may become even more important than making strategic investments to grow your cannabis business.

open a new location ribbon cutting ceremony

Open a New Location

Your cannabis business might be doing increasingly well with each passing month. But at some point, there’s a chance you’ll want to open a new location.

This is where business loans can remove some of the wait time for business owners in the process of scaling their cannabis companies.

Rather than saving money to expand marijuana businesses, savvy ganjapreneurs obtain business loans to finance their new location. This has the potential to increase revenue significantly while the cannabis business pays back the business loan over time.

equipment leasing cannabis industry

Equipment Financing and Leasing

Equipment financing has become commonplace in the cannabis industry. Rather than investing thousands of dollars to obtain the necessary equipment to conduct business, these financing solutions allow business owners to pay for the tools they need over months or even years.

For example, a cultivation operation lacking cannabis business funding can use equipment financing to pay for the cannabis grow lights, cultivation equipment, and irrigation systems they might need to start their business.

Equipment leasing works similarly. Rather than purchasing equipment outright, many businesses go with an equipment leasing option to obtain the necessary tools and machinery they need to get started.

hiring lawyers, accountants, and other professionals specializing in cannabis

Lawyers, Accountants & Other Professionals

Hiring a lawyer or someone to handle cannabis accounting can be essential for any cannabis business – especially if it’s your first time operating in this industry. However, engaging the services of a professional doesn’t always come cheap.

While a lawyer or CPA can help you avoid cannabis compliance-related legal trouble, they also charge fees for their time. If your cannabis business is just getting started, it might make sense to obtain business loans and use the funds to hire professionals who can assist in areas that aren’t up to par with industry standards.

Software & Security Systems

Compliance is crucial in the cannabis industry, and many states require cannabis businesses to use specific software and security systems, especially if they’re a hands-on operation. For example, METRC is essential if your business operates in one of the legal cannabis states that use it.

Using cannabis business loans for software and security systems can be ideal if you don’t have cash on hand. It’s also important to consider long-term planning and how using a business loan for this type of investment can result in savings over time.

cannabis business loan

Cannabis Business Loans

Where to get Cannabis Business Loans

Cannabis businesses might find it challenging to get small business loans. However, options for business loans exist. While cannabis business funding might take some creativity, business owners can acquire the capital they need to scale their operations in the cannabis industry.

The federal government has made it increasingly difficult for cannabis industry participants to obtain loans, whether for medical marijuana operations or business owners handling recreational cannabis.

Here’s are some of the most common sources for cannabis business loans:

Financing Company

Cannabis business financing options are available to this elevated space. But cannabis business financing solutions are still quite limited.

Business owners can check with several traditional lenders to see if that will work. But a financing company willing to offer cannabis business loans is usually one of the best methods for business funding.

Diamond Business Loans is one financing company operating out of California. This business helps cannabis startups and established operations find business funding through three main programs. The company offers an unsecured capital program, an equipment program, and a commercial real estate purchase program.

Other financing companies offer cannabis business loans, too. Some of these include Dynamic Alternative Finance, GoKapital, Small Business Funding, and United Capital Source.

Venture Capital Firms

Venture capital firms are becoming increasingly common in cannabis. This sort of funding is a good option for small business owners operating in the marijuana industry who would prefer to avoid taking on debt.

Equally important to understand is that a marijuana industry business owner that accepts funding from a venture capital firm is diluting his or her ownership percentage of the business. Thus, if your business is already earning money, it could be best to look for revenue-based business loans instead.

Most small business owners in the marijuana industry look at many grow facilities lenders and alternative lenders before choosing from the VC firms that are willing to work with a cannabis company. However, for those looking into these funding options, Casa Verde, Tuatara Capital, L.P., and Privateer Holdings are the VC firms that invest in the most cannabis and hemp businesses

Cannabis Business Loan Types

Small Business Loans

Small business loans are offered by banks and other traditional lenders to small businesses that need capital but operate outside of the cannabis industry. While funding options for this space are limited at many of the financial institutions regulated by the federal government, a cannabis business owner might still be able to find a small business loan.

Business owners seeking financing through banks or credit unions might obtain a loan based on their company’s revenue, cannabis equipment, assets, or personal guarantee.

The good news is that there’s increasing interest in offering cannabis loan options to small businesses. Meanwhile, some banks are starting to look at these companies as potential clients and offer cannabis business loans.

Business Cash Advance Loans

Some financial service providers may offer a merchant cash advance. However, this is usually one of the most expensive forms of alternative financing, and small business owners are usually better off steering clear of these cash advance options.

Cash advances are only recommended in extreme situations when no other options are available. It’s quite easy for a marijuana business to get behind when they choose to take a cash advance, and it’s important to remember that a business cash advance should be considered as a last resort.

Real Estate Loans

Commercial real estate leasing isn’t always an option for cannabis. Federal government restrictions on these operations make it less appealing to rent the property out.

This is where real estate loans can offer a cannabis business owner the option to buy real estate.

A real estate loan involves a formal loan agreement that helps a business owner purchase property and pay back the loan over time with interest. The loan proceeds to get paid off, and most business owners have a plan in place to ensure they have the capital to make the payments through their day-to-day operations.

Cannabis Working Capital Loans

Another type of cannabis loan is the working capital loan. These types of loans offer financing options for daily operations and are often an attractive option because they don’t require collateral, although the lending institution will review your cash flow and personal credit score to determine whether or not you qualify for a loan.

If your cannabusiness requires more funding than is offered by other commercial real estate financing options, it may be time to look into a working capital loan.

Cannabis Acquisition Loans

Cannabis acquisition loans are available in the cannabis industry, and some of these financing options can help a business owner purchase real estate or other assets.

These loans offer less debt than what’s found with typical acquisition loans, making them more attractive to those who are interested in large-scale operations. Cannabis acquisition loans are secured against property owned by business operators; therefore, this type of financing is only available when a business operator owns real estate.

Bridge Loans

Bridge loans can help a business owner acquire more funding when they need it most.

These loans provide the financial support that’s needed to purchase more inventory or property without having to pay for anything upfront.

Once a loan has been approved, business operators can keep their day-to-day costs low until capital raises have been made and other financing options have been considered.

Bank Loan

A bank loan is another type of financing that’s available to marijuana businesses. But these loans have the fewest options as compared to other types of cannabis loan products.

A bank loan is also one of the most difficult forms of financing for a cannabusiness owner to obtain because banks are usually resistant to offering these products unless they’ve already received approval from their federal government regulator. Regardless of business credit or your credit score, most businesses in this space will have difficulty getting a bank loan because of federal regulations.

Private Loans

Private loans are a popular funding option for cannabusiness owners.

These loans are usually offered by family members or friends who wish to offer financial support without any strings attached. The simple nature of these loans can help business operators secure the funding they need within days and keep their day-to-day costs low until revenue has been raised.

Term Loans

Term loans are often used in the cannabis industry because they offer a fixed, predictable source of financing.

These loans are secured by an underlying asset, and interest rates can be adjusted over time. This offers business operators another way to secure funding for a positive cash flow situation with little risk involved.

SBA Loans

SBA loans are one of the most popular financing options for new businesses in the cannabis industry.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers funding to cannabusiness owners who are interested in starting a business from scratch or purchasing real estate that would otherwise not be available to them with traditional lenders. The SBA has numerous guidelines and restrictions surrounding their loans, but if approved, these loans can help business operators secure enough capital to open doors and get started.

cannabis and money

Cannabis Business Financing Solutions

Financing exists in this elevated space. Here are a few we recommend exploring if you aren’t already:

Invoice Financing

Invoice financing is a form of financing that helps cannabusinesses generate enough capital to pay their employees, taxes, and other business expenses.

Invoice financing is also beneficial for those who need help generating revenue because it allows them to purchase inventory upfront using an invoice rather than waiting for customers to pay.

While some companies might base their invoice financing options on a cannabusiness owner’s credit score, business credit usually works for the purpose of invoice financing.

Equity Financing

Equity financing for cannabis businesses is also a popular option. The majority of businesses in this space aren’t eligible for traditional financing products because the legal regulations surrounding cannabis are so new.

Equity financing allows business operators to access funds from investors without paying any fees upfront. This form of financing is often provided to cannabusiness owners who already have a positive cash flow and need capital to help them scale their operations and bypass traditional lending guidelines.

Personal Credit

If you have a high credit score, besides being eligible for cash advances, you likely have good personal credit. This form of credit can also be used as business credit.

Your business credit the same as your credit score and can be used for financing purposes such as investing in a cannabis company or borrowing money to purchase cannabis equipment.

Cannabis Lenders

The SAFE Banking Act has lessened the restrictions for cannabis lenders at the federal level. While many lenders still refuse to see those working with cannabis value as a potential customer, the fact that restrictions have eased at the federal level is enough for some lenders to allow cannacompanies to open a bank account and use these services.

Lenders may offer solutions to allow cannabusiness operators to purchase new or used equipment, property, and other expenses. But it’s important to remember that not all lenders are willing to provide loans to cannacompanies.

Alternative Lenders/Investors

Alternate lenders and investors are equally important to consider. Here are some of the options available for cannabis:

  • Family Offices
  • Cannabis specific funds and a few hedge funds
  • Angel investors
  • High net worth individuals
  • Musicians, athletes, and other celebrities
  • Business incubators and accelerators
  • Industry-specific holding companies


Recently, people have been using crowdfunding to start new businesses. There are many crowdfunding platforms available.

For example, some of the platforms cannabusinesses can use are Indiegogo and Kickstarter. Indiegogo has approved some cannabis companies for raising money through their platform.

Other known platforms include StartEngine, which has also approved funding requests for cannabis startups. Lastly, SeedInvest is a platform that welcomes cannabis companies to participate.

cannabis and money cannabis financing

Concluding on Cannabis Financing

Whether you need to purchase property, don’t have working capital, are looking for a way to get the equipment you need, or something else, financing options are available. Hopefully, you’ve found the financing solution your cannabusiness needs in this article.

While the credit unions are beginning to support cannabusinesses, raising capital can be challenging for these operations. The space is still young, and as it matures, we expect to see more financial institutions offering support to elevated businesses.

Northstar: Guiding Cannabis Industry Success

Looking for expert financial guidance in the cannabis space? Northstar is here to guide you!

Contact us now for the financial services your operation needs to scale its success!