President Donald Trump just signed another relief package that had quickly passed through Congress. But will marijuana businesses see any of that money?
Although deemed essential businesses by the states in which they're legal to operate, marijuana businesses have been excluded from federal aid packages created in response to the pandemic because of the plant's illegal status nationally. That's why the Emergency Cannabis Small Business Health and Safety Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 23; it would make such enterprises eligible for Small Business Administration services, including Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster loans. The proposal stipulates that state-legal businesses can't be barred from aid simply because they work with marijuana, and would protect government officials from any federal charges for providing money to a federally illegal business.
But it has not yet become law.
In the meantime, one reader doubts it's needed. Says James:
I feel like their revenues are likely increasing during this time.
There was a boom in the beginning, but sales have slowed and any forecasting that was in place went out the window when the Christmas of cannabis was essentially cancelled. Staffs are cut, bonuses cut, hundreds spent in pivoting for curbside distribution. including security and windows. They need help just as much as any small mom and pop that is deemed essential, trying to stay open and keep people employed.
Federal funding for a business that the federal government denies banking services to as "illegal" is insane.
Cannabis is the only thing keeping me sane during this pandemic. Marijuana businesses deserved help, too.
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Along with co-sponsor Ed Perlmutter, all of Colorado's Democratic representatives — Jason Crow, Joe Neguse and Diana DeGette — signed on to support the bill.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis also lent his voice to the inclusion of marijuana businesses, writing a letter to Crow to ask for more support for marijuana businesses in Washington, D.C.
“In an ideal world, Congress would include a provision in an upcoming bill guaranteeing that all state-legal cannabis businesses, direct and indirect, will be eligible for these loans," Polis wrote in the letter, adding that freezing marijuana businesses out of federal aid opened the door to a "devastating effect on our business community and tens of thousands of employees."
Do you think the feds should extend relief to marijuana businesses? Post a comment or share your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.