Ownership of a Legal Marijuana Business: Obligations of a Certified Management Accountant
Rick L. Crosser
January 1, 2017
Strategy & General Management
IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice, ethics, marijuana, controlled substances
Journal of Critical Incidents
This critical incident was about a major dilemma facing a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and member of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) with majority ownership of a recreational marijuana business in Colorado. Ownership of this type of business, that involves marijuana possession, production, and sales, was legal in specific states. At the same time, the business remains illegal under federal law; yet, federal prosecutors have stated a hands-off approach to certain state-level legal enterprises. Is the accountant violating ethical principles of the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice? This incident provides students opportunities to dig into the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice (the IMA Statement). Discussion questions lead students to compare federal and state law concerning recreational marijuana possession and sales. Also, students are put into the position of providing a resolution to the dilemma as if it was their dilemma. There is no right answer. It provides critical thinking and reasoning opportunities because students cannot simply provide textbook answers to their instructors.