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Growing Cannabis Industry Not Without Its Challenges
Legal marijuana was a $10.4 billion industry in the U.S. in 2018 with a quarter-million jobs devoted just to the handling of marijuana plants, said Beau Whitney, vice president and senior economist at New Frontier Data, a leading cannabis market research and data analysis firm, in an AP interview . There are many other jobs that don’t involve direct work with the plants, but they are harder to quantify, Whitney added.

The legalization of cannabis for both medicinal and recreational purposes in many states is creating opportunities for business owners and investors, as well as the communities in which they chose to locate. In fact, by the end of 2025 the legal cannabis market is expected to reach $146.4 billion, according a report from Grand View Research.

Growing cannabis businesses can enhance their opportunities by locating in one of the newly created Opportunity Zones, which were created under the TCJA of 2017. The Opportunity Zone program enables institutional and private investors to reduce taxes on current capital gains — and avoid taxes on future capital gains — if they invest in low-income and rural communities. 

Despite the growth of the cannabis industry as medicinal and recreational use is legalized in many states, many companies still test for marijuana use as a condition of employment, with many following federal law which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance that is illegal to possess or use. In fact, even in states where recreational use is legal, employers can still have a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and can still fire people who violate that policy, even if their drug use is after-hours.

And because marijuana is illegal under federal laws, most banks are wary of financing the cannabis industry. Yet, a bill recently introduced in the Senate would provide a “safe harbor” for financial institutions working with cannabis-related businesses in states where they’re legal — protecting them from the challenge of federal prosecution.

Cannabis - The Latest Buzzword on Investment

Randal Meyer Randal Meyer, Senior Vice President, McGuireWoods Consulting

The legalization of cannabis in many states is creating opportunities for business owners and investors, as well as communities.

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Employers Delve Into the Weeds of Cannabis Law

Steve Kaelble Steve Kaelble, Staff Editor, Area Development

As the laws involving cannabis use — for both medicinal and recreational purposes — evolve, businesses must figure out how to operate in a changing environment.

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Opportunity Zones Can Uplift Communities and Investors Alike

Stephanie L. Yarbrough Stephanie L. Yarbrough, Womble Bond Dickinson

Stephanie Yarbrough, Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson, spoke with Area Development following her presentation on qualified opportunity zones and stimulating investment in low-income communities at our Miami Consultants Forum.

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