Senator Fights For Marijuana Businesses’ Access To Federal Financial Aid With New Amendment

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Marijuana businesses in legal states would have been made eligible for certain federal financial assistance under an amendment that was proposed to a Senate-passed budget plan, but the cannabis measure was ultimately not voted on by the body. The amendment from Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) was one of more than 1,000 that were filed on the budget resolution, which members narrowly passed early on Wednesday through a reconciliation process requiring just 50 votes. The cannabis amendment sought to “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to ensuring that small businesses have access to loans and technical assistance in States that have legalized the use of cannabis.” Presumably that fund would have been overseen by the federal Small Business Administration (SBA), which has repeatedly said that state-legal marijuana companies—and even ancillary businesses like legal firms that work with the industry—do not qualify for its loans or services. Weeks before Wednesday’s budget reconciliation “vote-a-rama” on dozens of unrelated amendments that did see action, a group of 10 senators sent a letter to Appropriations Committee leadership, requesting that language allowing marijuana businesses to access SBA aid be included in a report for a separate spending bill. That letter was led by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), who in February pressed the then-nominee for SBA administrator, Isabella Guzman, on helping cannabis firms access assistance from the agency. The since-confirmed official simply committed to “further understanding those rules and regulations” and working with the senator’s office. Rosen and other lawmakers later penned a letter to Senate leadership in April of last year arguing that the cannabis industry deserved equal access to federal relief. By the end of that month, supportive lawmakers in Congress had introduced a bill to extend access to coronavirus relief funds to state-legal cannabis businesses, but the measure did not come to a vote. Then in September, wildfires…

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Source : Senator Fights For Marijuana Businesses’ Access To Federal Financial Aid With New Amendment

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