Thursday, 02 April 2020
Washington, DC: A coalition of US Senators are urging leadership to permit licensed cannabis operators to qualify for loans and other forms economic assistance available from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Under current law, licensed cannabis businesses are ineligible for financial aid opportunities because marijuana remains classified as a schedule I controlled substance. In a March 26 letter addressed to the Chairman and Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, senators urge "the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government to include language in ... forthcoming legislation to help extend SBA loan programs to legal cannabis businesses." Senators Michael Bennett (), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Edward Markey (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeffrey Merkley (D-OR), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) signed on to the letter. Commenting on the letter, NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said: "In this time of crisis and unprecedented federal support for the economy, Congress should not allow all of the small and midsize cannabis businesses to be excluded by the SBA. Be it in the appropriations package or the next round of stimulus, this is a common-sense solution will help protect jobs in 33 states and provide much needed support to Main Street small businesses." In recent months, NORML has been working with its Congressional allies to move forward several pieces of legislation, such as HR 3540: The Ensuring Safe Capital Access for All Small Businesses Act, and HR 3884/S 2227: The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act – which "prohibit the Small Business Administration from declining to provide certain small business loans to an eligible entity solely because it is a cannabis-related legitimate business or service provider." The state-licensed cannabis industry employs more than 240,000 American workers, over four times the number of American workers as does the coal industry. The majority of these businesses are small-to-medium in size. For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.