For newly legal cannabis businesses, the complexity of tax compliance can be daunting. It’s easy to get lost between rapidly changing regulations, complicated calculations, and tight filing deadlines. This post will explore key steps cannabis retailers can take to master taxation in this emerging industry.

Know the Regulatory Landscape

With cannabis still federally illegal, most guidance falls to the states. Across the U.S., businesses must navigate a patchwork of different tax rates, rules, and reporting requirements. Monitoring updates from regulatory agencies and industry groups is essential to stay compliant.

Key resources for tracking cannabis tax regulations include:

  • State cannabis regulatory bodies (e.g. California Bureau of Cannabis Control)
  • Municipalities with cannabis licensing/taxes
  • Industry associations (National Cannabis Industry Association, state chapters)
  • Cannabis tax software providers

Automate Everything

Filing returns and remitting taxes in each market is a recipe for disaster. The only viable path is end-to-end automation with industry-specific software like Monarch. Automation saves countless hours, minimizes errors, and ensures timely compliance.

Core features to look for in a cannabis tax solution include:

  • Integration with POS systems and METRC
  • Multi-state/municipality return filing
  • Tax calculations tuned for cannabis
  • Calendar with filing deadlines
  • Digital archiving and real-time reporting

Master the Metrics

Beyond just filing returns, cannabis taxes impact all aspects of financial management – from projecting revenue to FP&A, cash flow, profitability metrics, and more. Having real-time visibility and analytics is crucial for informed decision-making.

Learn from Experts

Between frequently changing regulations and complex state/federal interactions, there are countless nuances to cannabis taxes. Working with specialized CPAs and software providers is strongly advised to optimize compliance. Consider advisory services an investment, not an expense.

Key experts that cannabis businesses rely on include:

  • Cannabis CPAs and tax attorneys
  • Compliance consultants
  • Tax software implementation specialists
  • Regulatory monitoring services

Continuously Improve

Compliance requires vigilance, evaluating processes, and identifying new solutions. Regularly invest time in improving your tax workflows and tools to mitigate risk and maximize performance.


Taxes are among the most daunting challenges for newly legal cannabis businesses. By automating processes, monitoring updates, learning from experts, and continuously improving, cannabis retailers can confidently master this critical aspect of compliance and operations. Monarch Technologies provides specialized cannabis tax software and support to guide your success.

Schedule a demo today to see how Monarch can streamline your tax compliance from end to end.