So far, the cannabis industry has been excluded from federal relief for small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. Hundreds of billions in aid have already been released through the Small Business Administration (SBA), with more funding on the way. However, any business which produces or sells cannabis is ineligible for relief. 

That’s why a new bill introduced to congress, the Emergency Cannabis Small Business Health and Safety Act, could be really good news for struggling businesses in the weed sector.

Introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), the bill would make cannabis businesses eligible for SBA programs.

“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,” said Rep. Blumenauer, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, as reported by Leafly.

“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.”

Blumenauser also oversaw a bipartisan coalition of three dozen members of Congress, which found that the legal cannabis industry employs nearly a quarter billion people, and generated $1.9 billion in taxes in 2019. 

“Cannabis businesses are major employers and significant contributors to local economies in Colorado and across the country,” said Rep. Perlmutter. “They should receive the same level of support as other legal, legitimate businesses and be eligible for SBA relief funds during this COVID-19 crisis.”

Photo via Flickr/DadOneNineSevenEight