By Ignacio Laguarda
GateHouse News Service
If you want to open a medical marijuana dispensary, there are about 60 forms you’ll need to fill out before you even open up shop.
Once that happens, meticulous bookkeeping and hands-on business management will be the key to keeping the Internal Revenue Service at bay and making you federally compliant, said Newton-based attorney Robert Carp.
The process and operation of a medical marijuana dispensary is one riddled with potential mines and traps, said Carp. He’s hoping that enough people will see the nuanced and sometimes confusing state marijuana law and come looking for help, hopefully in his direction.
During a two-hour presentation at the Brookline Public Library on Washington Street on Friday, Jan. 18, Carp went through a litany of tips and potential problems for prospective new dispensary owners, caregivers and patients. Although the meeting was meant as an informational session, Carp also used it as a promotional tool to build up his burgeoning Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Dispensers’ Association, Inc., which he runs with his business partner Stephen Cottens, another attorney.
The idea of the association is to provide information to dispensary owners, caretakers and patients about the medical marijuana industry. Paying members would have access to legal experts, as well as vendors. The Brookline meeting was the first one for the association, which plans monthly meetings.
Judging from the crowd in attendance, the demand for such informational sessions seemed to be high, as participants came from all over New England to listen and take notes about what will be required to participate in, and profit from, the medical marijuana industry.
“A lot of people are stumped because [they] envision it as simply growing marijuana, harvesting it and selling it,” said Carp, an enrolled agent with the IRS. “The truth of the matter is it goes far beyond that. You need to have very specific compliance in place.”
Much of the marijuana regulations are still unknown, as the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has until May 1 to issue them. However, the state will consider dispensary applicants starting on April 1. The application fee is $250, and there are only 35 licenses available for the entire state, with a limit of five per county. Initially, the state will only make 19 of those available.
Part of Carp’s plan includes creating a co-op down the road, and providing a place to house a number of marijuana plants for use by dispensaries. The idea is to provide a sense of security to dispensaries that their product will be in good hands even when they can’t be in direct supervision of it.
Read more: Group wants to help medical marijuana industry avoid legal woes – Waltham, Massachusetts – Wicked Local Waltham http://www.wickedlocal.com/waltham/news/x930791892/Group-wants-to-help-medical-marijuana-industry-avoid-legal-woes#ixzz2K2aS55NH