420 with CNW – Marijuana Businesses Plead to Access Federal Coronavirus Business Relief

March 24, 2020 04:20:50

A little over two months after the novel Coronavirus first appeared in Wuhan, China, it has spread to every continent except Antarctica and left over 10,000 people dead in its wake. The World Health Organization has declared the virus a pandemic, and it’s safe to say most of us haven’t experienced anything of this magnitude in our lifetimes. Fearing an outbreak of black plague proportions, most countries have been going into lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus.

However, while social distancing and self-isolation have been found to be the best preventive measures, the long term effect it could have on the economy is catastrophic, especially if the lockdowns last a while. Businesses all over the country are already feeling the pinch, and to help alleviate this, the U.S. federal government has pledged to provide financial assistance to keep the economy going in these trying times.

This has left the cannabis industry between a rock and a hard place. Cannabis businesses are required to comply with Coronavirus related measures that will without a doubt affect their cash flows, but since cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, they will not have access to federal business relief. On Friday, a coalition of major cannabis industry associations sent a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate asking them to ensure cannabis businesses qualify for assistance.

“Our members follow strict regulations, create jobs, generate millions of dollars in tax revenue, including federal corporate tax revenue, and act as good corporate citizens, yet it appears as if these businesses will not be eligible for the same loans available to other businesses in this country at rush due to the global pandemic,” states the letter.

It was jointly sent by the National Cannabis Industry Association, National Cannabis Roundtable, Minority Cannabis Business Association, Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce and Cannabis Trade Federation.

“The ineligibility of cannabis businesses for disaster assistance loans is especially inequitable given that these same cannabis businesses are required to comply with other Coronavirus related measures. We are not seeking special treatment for state-legal cannabis businesses. We only seek to have them treated on an equal level as all other job-generating, tax-paying companies in this country.”

Non-profit group NORML has suggested that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act could help extend some benefits to the legal marijuana industry which employs an estimated 240,000 people in the U.S. Signed into law this week, the act directs federal funds to state governments to help them deal with the pandemic.

After conferring with experts, NORML believes the act “provides the individual states with authority to decide for themselves which industries are legally eligible to receive benefits.”

The group has stated that it will “continue to work with our federal allies to call for an end for such discriminatory practices against the cannabis industry and those whose livelihoods depend upon it.”

Analysts agree that cannabis sector players like ChineseInvestors.com Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX) are feeling the full impact of the economic slowdown resulting from the Coronavirus outbreak, so it is only fair that any relief available to other industries should also be accessible by the legal marijuana industry.

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