Emergency Cannabis Small Business Health and Safety Act
On Thursday, April 23, 2020, Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) introduced the Emergency Cannabis Small Business Health and Safety Act (the “Act”) in the House. If passed, the Act would allow cannabis businesses to take advantage of the multi-trillion dollar stimulus packages designed to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Due to marijuana’s status as a Schedule I substance, cannabis businesses remain ineligible to receive federal financial assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA). In order to remedy this and provide the industry with much needed economic relief, the Act would require that state sanctioned cannabis companies not be excluded from receiving funding “on the basis that the business is a cannabis-related legitimate business or a service provider.”
Specifically, the Act as proposed would permit cannabis businesses to participate in three SBA services: the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans Emergency Advance program. Additionally, the Act clarifies that the SBA and its officers, directors, and employees “may not be held liable pursuant to any Federal law or regulation solely for providing a loan or a loan guarantee to a cannabis-related legitimate business or a service provider in carrying out the relief legislation.”
Although it remains to be seen whether this standalone bill has a chance of passing, it is an encouraging sign that an effort is being made at the federal level to help cannabis companies.