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Cannabis Policy and Taxes: A Conversation with Sara Payan

Sara Payan and Qredible discussing the future of cannabis policy in the United States

We recently sat down with Sara Payan, a podcast host and cannabis advisory committee member, to discuss the future of cannabis policy and how it will affect companies in the near and distant future.

Read the transcript below or watch the video.

Qredible: Welcome to the Qredible Live Broadcast! Today, I’m speaking with Sara Payan, a leader in cannabis education, policy, and marketing. Sara serves on California’s Cannabis Advisory Committee and hosts the Planted with Sara Payan podcast.

Sara, how is the cannabis industry changing and affecting different players?

Sara: It’s an interesting time as the industry matures. Many legacy entrepreneurs have creativity but may lack the corporate skillsets to thrive long-term. New entrants bring helpful experiences but need to respect legacy knowledge. Updated tools can help streamline operations but may financially harm small businesses relying on brick-and-mortar. It will be telling to see who survives the next year as policies also shift to favor larger companies. There’s room for all, but we must ensure policies support both big and small players.

Qredible: You’ve referred to things like 280E and Metrc as “boogeymen” for the industry. Can you expand on the challenges they create?

Sara: 280E is a huge tax burden and expense. Not deducting normal business expenses makes companies pay vastly inflated taxes. Banking challenges also cost tremendous fees just to maintain accounts and put employees handling cash at safety risk. As for Metrc, it’s a headache when it goes down and a burden to integrate with other systems. Some states even use it as their inventory system. But it’s not built for true track-and-trace like food manufacturing requires.

What will be affected if 280E is resolved?

Qredible: If 280E is resolved through federal legalization, what new challenges might arise with added regulations?

Sara: Over-taxation is already an issue in legal states, so adding federal taxes on top would hurt businesses further. And we don’t know what form regulations will take–they may not match all states’ cultures and needs. Cannabis businesses need the banking and tax relief, but we must be cautious that new policies don’t swing the pendulum too far the other way after that long-awaited “boogeyman” exits.

The Effects of Federal Legalization

Qredible: What do you see as important steps for standardization across state lines?

Sara: We should communicate to learn what models actually work instead of constantly reinventing the wheel. Cannabis offers lessons for other industries, too, in how business can be done. Everything from testing to recalls needs to be standardized. However, legislation should reflect the nuances of individual markets and cultures. One size won’t fit all with diverse state regulations already in place.

Qredible: How are shifts in the industry impacting legacy farmers and businesses?

Sara: The impact is enormous. Many legacy players are losing farms and companies after years in the illicit market. Support programs to share knowledge and help gain new skills are hugely needed. We’re missing the mark in providing opportunities for legacies to create generational wealth through cannabis. Lack of licensing accessibility drives large illicit markets. Losing these passionate entrepreneurs would be devastating.

Qredible: Sara, thanks for your empathy, experience, and insights today! How can audiences learn more about your cannabis consulting work?

Sara: I advise on marketing, training, business development, and other services to help shore up success. I also do a lot of public education through university lectures, healthcare talks, and my podcast Planted with Sara Payan. You can find me at Sarapayan.com or on LinkedIn!

Qredible: Excellent, we appreciate you joining us and look forward to future conversations!

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