In a rare move for the marijuana industry, the city of Portland, Oregon, is financially assisting cannabis businesses negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and other problems.
The City Council adopted the Cannabis Emergency Relief Fund to distribute $1.3 million in relief funds to local cannabis companies impacted by the pandemic, property crime and wildfire damage in the past two years, Portland TV station KGW reported.
Businesses could receive up to $25,000 and individuals up to $5,000.
The money comes from a 3% local tax on retail cannabis that the city’s voters approved in 2016.
A cannabis regulatory official told the council that the city received $114 million in federal CARES Act funding to distribute to small businesses, but almost none of the money went to marijuana companies because of federal cannabis prohibition.
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According to the TV station, Portland Cannabis Licensing and Policy Coordinator Christina Coursey told the council that cannabis retailers have dealt with staffing problems and a recent uptick in crime and vandalism in the city.
In addition, many cannabis growers struggled with wildfires in recent years.
Coursey estimated that about 75% of Portland’s 347 marijuana businesses would be eligible for the funds.