Laundering Cannabis Cash to Pay Federal Taxes - A Proprietary Process. 

Note - this is an ad for the Ascendant Management Compliance Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona and the AvantPay Cannabis Conference in Washington, DC this September. Don’t waste your time reading it if you don’t want to make money in regulated cannabis industry. Thanks! - Samson 

In order to pay Federal Taxes many licensed, regulated, cannabis companies have to launder their cash. Why? Because banks will not open an account for a cannabis business due to cannabis being illegal at the Federal level. How exactly then do dispensaries, cultivators, retailers, transportation and other cannabis businesses pay Uncle Sam taxes if they can’t legally open bank accounts? The answer to that is a proprietary process. 

Too, the conversation really hits home and highlights the pain point that cannabis entrepreneurs face when you consider that without a bank account how do these small business owners do all the extravagant things that Main Street businesses need to do like:

  1. Pay employees
  2. Pay for health insurance
  3. Get a business loan
  4. Start a business line of credit
  5. Finance a purchase order
  6. Book airfare, travel, hotel, or even pay for Google Suites, Norton Anti-virus subscriptions and other online services (surely its easy to operate a business as though its 1995 and the internet doesn’t exist, right?)
  7. Not be targeted by thieves and organized crime for robbery, extortion and kidnapping because everyone knows you are forced to store stacks of cash because you can’t legally open a bank account  
  8. Use Title III of the JOBS Act to raise capital via crowdfunding to start, grow and scale their business 

Before we get into the process of how regulations force small business owners, in one of the most heavily regulated industries in America, to launder money to pay taxes, a few fun cannabis related facts:  

  1. All businesses, regulated or illegal, have to pay taxes. Just ask Al Capone.
  2. Cannabis is illegal at the Federal level.
  3. “Former 12-term congressman John Boehner of Ohio will make $20M as a board member of Acreage Holdings, a marijuana investment firm whose sale to a cannabis industry giant hinges on Mr. Boehner’s ability to persuade Congress and the federal government to legalize, or at least legitimize, marijuana.”
  4. In 2018, in Colorado alone, there was $1.55 billion in regulated cannabis sales. And you bet Uncle Sam got his cut. 
    Cannabis compliance is the fastest growing compliance sector.
  5. Many cannabis businesses use enable their business financially via crowdfunded REITs. That too is a proprietary process. 

Now, to get back to the process of how one legally launders money to pay their Federal Taxes. 

Step One 

  • Organize your business. You need to incorporate your business and comply with all Local and State regulations.
  • Do you need a specific license?
  • What inspections are required?
  • Where are cannabis operations zoned for operations in your jurisdiction?
  • And other such basic business formation questions. 

Step Two 

  • As you form your business, evaluate what your tax obligations and structure should look like.
  • This means you’ll talk to your lawyer, accountant/bookkeeper and tax advisor to determine, based on your jurisdiction and unique circumstances what are the best options for you. 

Step Three 

  • Hire a professional.
  • This is actually step one.
  • You’ll appreciate why you should hire a professional once you consider how setting up your business determines your tax obligations as much as what business you’re in. 

Step Four 

  • Follow Dr. Maureen Murat, Esq. (@CrowdieAdvisors) and myself, Samson Williams, (@HustleFundBaby) to learn more about how to set up a cannabis business and operate it in a compliant manner.
  • We’ll be speaking at the Ascendent Management Conference on cannabis compliance September 23 - 25 in Scottsdale, Arizona and then at the AvantPay Cannabis, Cryptocurrencies and Payments Conference in Washington, DC Sept 30 and Oct 1st. 

Together, we look forward to helping all of America’s Main Street entrepreneurs setup thriving, local businesses. We may secretly also be out to address the injustices of the War on Drugs and Mass Incarceration on Communities of Color. But we won’t tell you that until after you’ve made ungodly sums of money and are questioning whether or not you’re gonna get into heaven having made millions selling a plant that has caused the loss of freedom of literally millions of young Black men and women. #SocialJustice 


Thank you for reading my really long ad. On LinkedIn and for the Blockchain Business Magazine, I regularly write about technology, cannabis, crowdfunding, real estate, health and compliance investing trends. I am also a Board Member of the Crowdfunding Professional Association.To read my future posts simply join my network here or click 'Follow'. Also feel free to join me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube.

About Samson Williams 

Samson is an internationally recognized anthropologist and expert in Operations & Technology, Blockchain, Cannabis, cryptocurrencies, mobile payments, mortgage finance and organizational change management in FinTech.

Samson is ranked among the globe’s top innovative technology professionals for his cutting-edge research and applications in crowdfunding, tokenomics and digital securities. Samson is an adjunct professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, Columbia University and Principal consultant at Axes and Eggs. For business inquiries Samson can be reached at  

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