“We should include state-legal cannabis in federal COVID-19 efforts.”
Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) have introduced a bill to make legal cannabis businesses eligible for federal coronavirus relief aid meant for small businesses.
The legislation would grant the businesses eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loans and other aid. A $483 billion interim coronavirus aid package, which will replenish the small-business lending program, is set to pass the House on Thursday, but it excludes marijuana companies from receiving aid.
“As Congress seeks to provide relief to small businesses across America, chief among those being left out are state-legal cannabis businesses that are essential to communities and have met the demands of this crisis,” Blumenauer said in a statement. “We should include state-legal cannabis in federal COVID-19 response efforts. Without providing these businesses the relief needed to carry out the recommended public health and worker-focused measures, we are putting these hard-working people — and ourselves — at risk.”
Cannabis lobbying groups have been pushing for eligibility for the aid since Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March, which also excluded marijuana companies.
Congress is looking ahead to the next coronavirus-related bill, which is expected to be another massive package, but timing for it is up in the air. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said it will not be negotiated until the Senate is able to return in full and debate.
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