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Being Arkansas’ marijuana accounting “guru” is pretty much everyday business these days, but Curtis Winar of Frost PLLC in Little Rock recalls carrying around briefcases full of cash — not necessarily handcuffed to his wrist — on the streets of Denver.
“That was back in 2011 or ’12,” when Winar, a Washington, D.C., native and an already experienced Colorado CPA, started serving the newly legal cannabis industry there.
“It’s changed quite a bit over the past 10 years,” Winar said. “Back then, accountants weren’t really working in this industry because they’re afraid of losing their licenses.”
Nowadays, some kind of cannabis is legal or becoming legal in 40 states, and all sorts of professionals are serving the industry, even owning dispensaries and cultivation companies.
Legal sales nationwide are projected to surpass $20 billion by 2022, half in medical and half in recreational marijuana, according to the Arcview Group of Oakland, California. State accounting oversight boards, including the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy, have accepted legal cannabis as an area of practice with little comment or protest.
Winar, who estimates he represents “maybe half” of the licensed companies in Arkansas’ medical marijuana program, was…
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