US lawmakers pitch House bill to offer COVID-19 relief to cannabis firms

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Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation that would enable state-legal marijuana companies to qualify for U.S. Small Business Administration coronavirus relief programs, a stand-alone bill that could face an uphill battle in the current economic climate.

State-legal marijuana companies and most ancillary businesses are shut out of current relief programs because of strict SBA policies barring direct and indirect marijuana operations. The policies relate to the fact marijuana is illegal on a federal basis.

In an attempt to remedy that situation, Democratic Reps. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Ed Perlmutter of Colorado introduced the “Emergency Cannabis Small Business Health and Safety Act.”

Stand-alone marijuana reform bills so far have run into obstacles, especially in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Experts say such provisions would have a better chance of passing if they were included in a broader coronavirus reform package.

In fact, Blumenauer, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, has been leading a bipartisan coalition calling on House leadership to do just that – include state-legal cannabis businesses in future relief packages.

Democrats are working on a broader relief package to follow current efforts to replenish an SBA coronavirus fund.

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.