Congressional Leaders Urged To Ensure Cannabis Businesses Can Access Relief
Ten senators have sent a letter to Congressional leadership calling for forthcoming COVID-19 relief legislative packages to allow state-legal cannabis small businesses and indirect cannabis small businesses to access emergency loan and grant programs administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
In the letter, the senators highlight that current regulations exclude small businesses, including those in Massachusetts, with “direct” or “indirect” products or services that aid the use, growth, enhancement, or other development of cannabis, from SBA-backed financing, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). These outdated regulations have left taxpaying, state-legal cannabis small businesses behind during this crisis.
“The cannabis industry supports more than 240,000 workers in the United States, spanning 33 states and the District of Columbia. Some of these jobs have already been lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, and there is significant risk of greater job loss in the coming months. Many cannabis businesses are small-to-medium size operators, and some have been ordered to close to comply with state public health safety measures without having access to the same support systems in place as other small businesses in different sectors,” wrote the senators.
“Given the nature of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure that every American small business has the capacity to protect the health and economic wellbeing of their community and workforce. Therefore, we ask Senate Leadership to include in any future relief package provisions to allow state-legal cannabis small businesses and the small businesses who work with this industry to access the critical SBA support they need during these challenging and unprecedented times,” concluded the senators.
Signatories also included Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).