Inventory accounting for cannabis businesses: Sec. 280E and the impact of tax reform

The industry generated $9 billion in revenues in 2017 (which excludes the California recreational market that came on line in January 2018) and by some estimates is forecast to grow to $21 billion by 2021 (Smith, “The U.S. Legal Marijuana Industry Is Booming,” CNN Money (Jan. 31, 2018), available at

As a result, practitioners are more likely now than ever to be asked to consult with clients that may either be considering or are currently involved, directly or indirectly, in a statelegal cannabis business.

The production or sale of marijuana is still illegal under U.S. federal law, however. Pursuant to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, P.L. 91513, marijuana is listed as a Schedule I narcotic (21 U.S.C. §812). And while there has been much discussion regarding the Department of Justice’s ability and/or willingness to enforce the CSA as it relates to marijuana in states that have legalized

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