Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced a measure to include cannabis businesses in congressional coronavirus stimulus packages.
The Emergency Cannabis Small Business Health and Safety Act was introduced by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) who last week sent a letter to House leadership urging them to support the legalized cannabis industry in the packages – including pushing for the SAFE Banking Act to be included in relief legislation. Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a similar letter to Senate leaders on Wednesday.
Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said that the industry employs about 250,000 Americans and has been deemed an “essential service” amid the pandemic but many cannabusinesses will not survive the financial fallout of the pandemic without assistance.
“They already face disproportionate financial burdens during normal conditions, and the strains created by the coronavirus response are putting them at an even greater disadvantage and jeopardizing their ability to provide vital healthcare services. We are incredibly grateful for the dozens of lawmakers who are urging their colleagues to give cannabis businesses fair access to federal relief funds in these difficult times.” – Smith in a statement
Under current federal policy, the cannabis industry and cannabis-adjacent firms are ineligible for any Small Business Administration programs, including those created as part of the coronavirus response. State-approved hemp businesses, however, are eligible for some relief under the CARES Act.
Last month industry advocates – including the NCIA, National Cannabis Roundtable, Minority Cannabis Business Association, Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce, and Cannabis Trade Federation – sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to open up the programs to the industry.