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CPAs and Cannabis

On March 15, 2018 Governor Inslee signed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5928 which related to making financial services available to marijuana producers, processors, retailers, qualifying patients, health care professionals, and designated providers as authorized  under chapters 69.50 and 69.51A RCW; and adding a new section to chapter 9.01 RCW.

Sections (3) of this bill reads as follows:

A certified public accountant or certified public accounting firm, which practices public accounting as defined in RCW 18.04.025, does not commit a crime solely for providing professional accounting services as specified in RCW 18.04.025 for a marijuana producer, marijuana processor, or marijuana retailer authorized under chapter 69.50 RCW.

Given the passage of this bill, the Board reiterates its policy that it will not initiate disciplinary action against CPAs that are compliant with our state’s self- imposed regulatory framework and remain free of other financially related violations of federal or state law.

That being said, the Board cannot provide an assessment of the spectrum of risks that CPAs potentially face if they choose to engage with clients who are involved in the cannabis industry.  Licensees are advised to seek their own legal counsel.