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Canadian Company Gets First Marijuana IPO in US

Canadian based Tilray Inc. became the first marijuana company to complete an initial public offering (IPO) on a major U.S. Stock Exchange. Shares debuted at $17/share and reached as high as $34/share within the first week of trading.

Tilray isn't the first marijuana company traded on the US Stock Exchange, but the first to do so with an IPO. This is relevant for two reasons: first, it was able to tap into the lucrative U.S. IPO market, raising $153 million, and second, it signifies the maturation and legitimacy of the marijuana business, evidenced by its world-class book-runner, Cowen. As Tilray's Chief Executive Brendan Kennedy states, the IPO signifies tremendous validation for the industry. "It gives us access to large pools of capital, capital that feeds the global paradigm shift taking place".

Back in 2012, Congress passed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, easing the restrictions on crowdfunding for certain private companies. The JOBS Act also created a new category of securities issuer, the "emerging growth company" (EGC), that included those with revenues under $1 billion which had either not gone public or just had their IPO.

Given the difficulty in securing funding for many startups and small business, any rule that makes it easier to raise capital or go public is some very good news. So could your company qualify as an EGC? And how could that help your crowdfunding?

If you run a business, particularly one that isn't operated as a sole proprietorship, you should be rather careful about commingling funds. Using business funds to pay for personal expenses could run afoul of the law, contracts, ethical, and fiduciary duties.

Even if you operate a sole proprietorship, you may want to follow the following advice, that way, when the time comes to grow, your business doesn't have a questionable and difficult to understand financial history. It'll also make life easier come tax time.

MedBox, the company that promised to bring biometric medical marijuana vending machines into existence, was recently busted by the SEC for some rather deceptive practices, which surprisingly doesn't involve the controversial substance. Rather, MedBox was busted for deceiving investors by using fake earnings generated by a secret affiliate and not MedBox to claim the company had substantial revenue and was a marijuana industry leader.

The founder of MedBox, and the company itself, have settled the claims made by the SEC by agreeing to disgorge profits and pay fines, totaling over $12 million, and by the founder agreeing to not be a corporate director or officer of any public companies, and for him not to participate in any penny stock offerings. Others involved, including former corporate directors and officers, are still being investigated and/or pursued by the SEC for their involvement, or complacency (which likely won't suffice as a defense).

Getting a business venture started or making a product via a crowdfunding project can be exciting. Seeing supporters, or backers, putting their money into your project can be uplifting. Just don’t forget about the IRS.

Many people who get funded often wonder whether the money received from crowdfunding is taxable. Despite the lack of specific guidance from the IRS, the answer is yes, crowdfunded monies are taxable income for the year that they are received, with limited exception. Fortunately, there are a few things that crowdfunding startups, individuals and businesses can do to maybe save a few bucks and avoid tax troubles.

Starting or running a business frequently involves lines of credit. As business owners know, inventory must be acquired, rents must be paid, and wheels need to keep on turning. Many entrepreneurs just starting out frequently rely on their own personal credit to get their businesses off the ground.

However, depending on the type of business structure you choose for your business, your personal credit score may have a negative impact on your business.

Despite the fact that more and more states are passing laws to legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational use, there are numerous legal obstacles that marijuana businesses face. At the outset, all marijuana businesses operate with the fear of federal prosecution. While individual states may have legal marijuana, the federal government still regards it as a Schedule I narcotic drug, and considers the sale, use, and possession to be illegal.

In addition to the concern over federal prosecution, local and state laws tend to require marijuana business operators to cut through quite a bit of bureaucratic red tape before opening up shop. While the red tape may seem like a hurdle that can be easily overcome, local permitting often requires the payment of hefty, cost-prohibitive application fees, as well as lengthy processing times, that make setting up a marijuana business even more cost prohibitive.

Whether you're just starting your business, or you've been in operation for years, developing a business line of credit could be the most critical step in taking your business to the next level. While many business owners finance their businesses using their personal credit, business lines of credit can be vastly larger and superior to those offered to individuals.

The big question that many small business owners ask is: How do I establish credit for my business? Below you'll find the three steps you need to take to establish business credit.

It's a long road building your business from the ground up. When the time comes to grow, entrepreneurs often seek funding from third parties, including friends and family, banks, venture capital firms, and anyone else who might have deep pockets. However, getting funding can be wrought with legal pitfalls. Until recently, an entrepreneur was not allowed to publicly solicit investments into their business. However, now that we are in the era of crowdfunding, the rules have changed.

With the JOBS Act, rules were devised for businesses that wanted to utilize crowdfunding. Also, the the JOBS Act provides rules on solicitation and details about who qualifies as as an accredited investor changed.

Venture capital funding for new drone startups is no longer on the rise. Despite the fact that the new FAA regulations that went into effect this past August provide certainty for companies looking to utilize drones, since the regulations were announced, drone startups have received less and less funding. Shockingly, from the second to third quarter this year, drone funding plummeted by by half.

According to MarketWatch, funding for drone companies has fallen by 59 percent since last year. In the second quarter of this year, $106 million was invested in 13 different deals. However, in the third quarter of this year, there was only $55 million invested into 8 different deals. For the companies that make drones, especially ones that are just starting up, this news is frightening.