Lawmakers Want Business Owners With Marijuana Convictions To Be Eligible For Coronavirus Relief

Lawmakers Want Business Owners With Marijuana Convictions To Be Eligible For Coronavirus Relief

Two House members are urging congressional leaders to fix a “glaring flaw” in a coronavirus relief program that disqualifies people for business loans due to past convictions, including those for simple marijuana possession. Under the federal Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), individuals are automatically disqualified from receiving aid if they’ve been convicted, pleaded guilty, pleaded nolo contendere, placed on pretrial diversion or placed on parole or probation in the last five years. Reps. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) and Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) asked House and Senate leaders to end the policy as part of future COVID-related legislation. “These guidelines are overly broad and promise to disqualify small business owners in many jurisdictions for offenses as minor as possession of marijuana,” they wrote. “Inevitably, this policy will disproportionately hurt communities of color who, due to structural inequities, are most affected by the criminal justice system.” They added that data suggests that communities of color are being especially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and so enforcing this rule is “counterintuitive and unjust.” We need to Ban The Box for Covid-19 small business loans. No small business owner should be denied critical relief because of a past offense as minor as marijuana possession. — Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) April 17, 2020 “SBA has created broad criminal history standards that will disqualify small business owners who have worked hard to reintegrate into society from accessing critical PPP funds,” they said. “As Congress considers future legislation, we urge you to ease these…

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Source : MJ moment
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