House COVID Package Includes Cannabis Banking Relief, But Not Small Business Support

House COVID Package Includes Cannabis Banking Relief, But Not Small Business Support

House Leadership unveiled legislation today, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (aka the ‘‘HEROES Act”), to provide additional economic resources and support in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.  Included in the language of the bill is HR 1595: The SAFE Banking Act, which amends federal law so that explicitly banks and other financial institutions may work directly with state-legal marijuana businesses. Members of the House of Representatives voted 321 to 103 in favor of the Act in September. Reform advocates, including NORML, had lobbied leadership to include banking reform in the latest COVID relief measure. NORML also encouraged leadership to include separate provisions in the Act to permit state-licensed cannabis businesses to be eligible to receive loans and other types of financial assistance via the Small Business Administration (SBA). The state-licensed cannabis industry employs more than 240,000 American workers, over four times the number of American workers as does the coal industry. The majority of these businesses are small-to-medium in size.  Over 40 members of Congress signed multiple letters to Congressional Leadership demanding SBA reform.Representative Earl Blumenauer has introduced legislation to address this matter, and in recent days a coalition of reform advocates? along with criminal justice and civil rights groups urged this reform. Nonetheless, language to amend SBA eligibility was not included in the bill. NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said: “The inclusion of the SAFE Banking Act in the CARES 2 package is a positive development, but one that’s akin to applying a band-aid…

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Source : norml
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