Has Business Gone to Pot?

Have you ever wondered what business and accounting challenges might accompany a newly legalized industry?

On Tuesday, April 18, Professor Justin P. Breidenbach, MAcc, CPA, CFE will visit Lake Erie College to investigate this question as it relates to the legalized marijuana industry. His lecture, “Has Business Gone to Pot? The Business and Accounting Side of the State Legalized Marijuana Industry,” will take place at 6:30 p.m. in Dickinson Auditorium in Austin Hall of Science and is free and open to the public.

Currently an assistant professor of accounting in Ohio Wesleyan University’s School of Economics, Professor Breidenbach has extensive work experience in public accounting and is well versed on topics such as financial reporting, taxation and auditing. His research over recent years has focused on the creation and continuation of the legalized marijuana industry, rendering him an expert on the business and accounting side of the subject.

Having toured the growing, processing, dispensary and retail facilities in this industry and having talked with many professionals in the field, Professor Breidenbach holds a comprehensive understanding of the industry’s unique challenges with taxation, state licensing, regulatory conflict, banking and ancillary services, consumer pricing, financial sustainability, and business leadership.

Issues he has studied in depth include, for example, circumstances where producers in states with legalized marijuana are not able to deduct many routine experiences from their federal taxes, or where facilities struggle to find banks willing to handle their accounts.

“Societal changes and shifts in the way we view current issues, such as the use of marijuana for medical purposes, often outpace the ability of our institutions and day-to-day practices to deal with them,” said Dr. Robert Trebar, dean of the School of Business at Lake Erie College. “Professor Breidenbach's talk illuminates one very poignant example of this."

Questions to be discussed during Professor Breidenbach’s lecture on April 18 will include: From a business and economic standpoint, how would Ohio be affected if residents vote to legalize marijuana? How would companies navigate the challenges of working with a product considered illegal under federal law?

“The goal of my research is to better understand the business and accounting implications of operating in this industry and how this affects owners, employees, consumers, government entities, and the wider market,” said Breidenbach. “I study these issues in the context of both recreational and medical marijuana markets.”

Notably, the lecture will not cover or debate the direct medical, social, criminal justice or political sides of the industry. Professor Breidenbach argues that, while worthy of consideration, these discussions should be led by professionals within whose fields of expertise these topics fall.

Professor Breidenbech’s lecture is sponsored by the Lake Erie College School of Business. For more information, contact Julie Ziemak, assistant professor of accounting, at ziemak@lec.edu.


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