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Ask a Stoner: Can Marijuana Workers Receive Unemployment?

Ask a Stoner: Can Marijuana Workers Receive Unemployment?
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Dear Stoner: My son works in the cannabis industry, but I'm worried about his job status. Are cannabis workers eligible for unemployment right now?
Shelly

Dear Shelly: The cannabis industry is actually doing much better than most industries right now, with dispensary sales stronger than anticipated and wholesale prices rising as commercial pot supplies dwindle. But pot shops, growers and other cannabis businesses aren't totally immune to hard economic times or pandemic-related rule changes, and virtually none of the pot industry can access federal COVID-19 financial aid because of the plant's prohibition.

Ask a Stoner: Can Marijuana Workers Receive Unemployment?
iStock/Azure-Dragon

Luckily, cannabis workers should qualify for state unemployment programs, even if they receive federal funding. According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, as long as your son's employer pays unemployment insurance taxes (as all businesses are supposed to), then he should qualify if he’s laid off.
Another option: Colorado and the City of Denver have implemented local COVID-19 relief packages for those who don't qualify for unemployment or federal aid, such as the CARES Act.

Send questions to marijuana@westword.com.

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