Recreational Marijuana Use Should Be Legalized in NJ, Say More Than 50 Percent of New Jersey CPAs Polled
December 14, 2017
ROSELAND, N.J. – More than 50 percent of the 747 New Jersey certified public accountants (CPAs) polled by the New Jersey Society of CPAs (NJCPA) in November said recreational marijuana use should be legalized in the state. Their reasons stemmed from it being a good source of tax revenue for the state and the potential for removing some of the burden on state prisons.
Those opposed, which totaled 47 percent, cited problems with marijuana being a possible gateway drug to others that could lead to dependency; that alternative ways to reduce spending at the state level should be considered before legalization; and that only medically-proven effective marijuana treatment should be available to patients.
Governor-elect Phil Murphy has supported legalizing marijuana in the first 100 days of his administration, predicting to raise $300 million in tax revenue. It is still illegal on a federal level.
Respondents noted that some of the biggest opportunities in providing accounting, tax and/or consulting services to the marijuana industry would be in assisting with start-ups and consultations related to taxes, particularly unusual tax accounting rules; guidance on regulatory compliance in relation to audits; and financial planning and reporting.
“The issue is a complicated one for the state and its residents, both on an individual basis and regarding business opportunities,” said Ralph Albert Thomas, CEO and executive director of NJCPA. “Traditional accounting services would be needed for any new business but thoughtful consideration will have to be given to the many ramifications involved in legalizing marijuana.”
Some of the respondents’ biggest concerns was the stigma attached to accounting firms who advertise that they serve clients in the cannabis industry as well as interstate, federal and sales tax issues. They also cited problems with the cannabis industry being a cash business and that federally insured banks are not doing business with those participants.
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The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants, with more than 15,000 members, represents the interests of the accounting profession and advances the financial well-being of the people of New Jersey. The NJCPA plays a leadership role in supporting the profession by providing members with educational resources, access to shared knowledge and a continuing effort to create and expand professional opportunities. Visit njcpa.org.