Almost all state-legal cannabis industry is precluded from qualifying for emergency relief funds.
While cannabis is legal for medical and/or adult use in most U.S. states, its categorization as a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and status as federally illegal has many of the hundreds of thousands of workers in the industry concerned they will not be able to access federal relief put in place because of COVID-19.
A coalition of cannabis industry associations are having to ask federal regulators not to overlook the industry that employs them as the financial impact of the pandemic begins to more aggressively unfold.
Although it’s estimated the state-legal cannabis industry employs almost a quarter of a million U.S. workers, nearly all are precluded from qualifying for emergency relief funds or other federal measures in place to mitigate the economic effects of the global outbreak. This is despite the fact that many states have deemed cannabis dispensaries and related businesses to be essential services.
Last week, a conglomerate of cannabis industry associations across the U.S. appealed to authorities to put aside the restrictions on federal aid to ensure that industry workers and businesses can apply for federal assistance.
Organizations involved included the Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce, the Cannabis Trade Federation, the National Cannabis Industry Association, National Cannabis Roundtable and the Minority Cannabis Business Association.
“Our members follow strict regulations, create jobs, generate billions of dollars in tax revenue — including federal corporate tax revenue — and act as good corporate citizens,” the groups wrote in a joint letter to the leaders of the Senate and House. “Yet it appears as if these businesses will not be eligible for the same loans available to other businesses in this country at risk due to the global pandemic,” it noted.
Published: March 23, 2020