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Spotlight on Law Firm Cannabis Practice Leader Rachel Gillette

Oct. 28, 2022, 1:00 PM

Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s Spotlight is on Rachel Gillette, a partner at Holland & Hart LLP in Colorado and leader of the firm’s cannabis practice.

Gillette works with startups, established cannabis operations, investors, and ancillary businesses at all points along the industry supply chain, protecting their interests in tax audits and deficiency assessments at the state and local level, as well as IRC Section 280E adjustments. She has more than a decade of experience helping clients navigate complex regulatory, financial, and operational challenges.

Outside of work, you might find Gillette playing Scrabble, rewatching a “Harry Potter” movie, or dreaming about an Italian vacation—with lots of wine.

What’s your official title and what does it mean? Holland & Hart partner and leader of the cannabis industry group. It means I get invited to all the work parties!

Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? Scrabble is more my jam. I channel my free time into practicing and participating in Scrabble competitions. If I ever have extra free time, I’m more likely to listen to a podcast.

Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? I help companies navigate virtually every aspect of federal, state, and local tax issues affecting cannabis businesses.

What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? I recently rewatched (for probably the fifth time) the “Harry Potter” series. I loved the books, and I really enjoy the movies too because they are awesome and so creative.

What college did you attend and what did you study? I studied political science and law at the University of Colorado Boulder and Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., respectively.

Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Coffee always, and tea if I’m out of coffee.

What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? I always listen to my mother, and her advice—from experience doing the opposite—is to diversify.

If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? Archaeologist, because I love playing in the dirt and finding treasure!

If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax world—an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever—what would it be? Get rid of Internal Revenue Code Section 280E, as it greatly impacts cannabis businesses and their ability to succeed.

Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season or other busy time? Does wine count as a food, snack, or candy? Or jelly beans—I love the black ones.

What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? Post-Covid-19, cannabis companies have been in a world of hurt. Taxes at every level are outrageous and really stymie business growth. States need to get cannabis business taxes under control because they continue to subsidize and incentivize the black market.

If you received a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? Go to Italy, because I love the history and culture. And who doesn’t like the food (and wine)?

You can find out more about Gillette on LinkedIn.

You can learn more about Gillette’s firm, Holland & Hart, on its website, and its cannabis law practice on Instagram.

If you’d like to recommend a tax pro to be featured, send your suggestion to rbaker@bloombergindustry.com with the subject: Spotlight. Please include the following information: tax professional’s name, title, email address, and geographic area (city/state/country).

To contact the reporter on this story: Rebecca Baker in Washington at rbaker@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kelly Phillips Erb at kerb@bloombergindustry.com