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420 with CNW – Racial and Civil Rights Groups Urge Congress to Give Cannabis Companies Access to COVID Funds

The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic will be felt for years to come. Early this year as parts of China shut down due to the outbreak, several industries ran into supply chain disruptions. However, as the virus spread and governments started taking more drastic measures to curb its spread, the impact was even more pronounced.

Cannabis Industry Denied Access

Most businesses are shut down and almost all commerce has ground to a halt. To help cushion small businesses and help them survive, the federal government deployed federal coronavirus relief funds through the Small Business Administration (SBA). One industry that was conspicuously denied access to those funds, however, was cannabis.

Despite being deemed essential by most states that allow cannabis, businesses in the sector cannot access these emergency relief funds. On Monday, a coalition of marijuana reform and civil rights groups sent a letter to Congressional leaders asking them to rethink this decision.

Dubbed the “Marijuana Justice Coalition (MIC),” it consists of 13 organizations including ACLU, NORML, Human Rights Watch, the Center for American Progress, and the Center for Law and Social Policy. They have asked lawmakers to make sure that future COVID-19 stimulus packages include provisions enabling the cannabis industry to receive loan and lending services through the SBA.

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the marijuana industry already struggled with inclusivity and diversity in ownership and operations, as well as countless barriers to the industry for people directly impacted by marijuana criminalization,” they said. Despite being allowed to operate during the lockdown, social distancing and delivery measures are hard on the bottom line.

The challenges caused by the coronavirus outbreak will disproportionately hit minority-owned businesses the hardest, jeopardizing efforts to make the industry more reflective of communities directly affected by marijuana prohibition, they said.

“Workers in the state-legal marijuana industry are no different from other sectors of the economy who show up to work every day to provide for their families. If marijuana businesses are unable to survive, the lives of millions of patients registered in state medical marijuana programs and the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of marijuana workers will be under threat,” the coalition wrote.

“Until broader national reforms can be enacted, it is vital that immediate action is taken to protect small businesses, namely businesses owned and operated by people of color and people directly impacted by the war on drugs, operating in this industry. This will ensure that underrepresented business owners are able to survive this economic hit in an industry in which they are already under-resourced.”

It is widely believed that the entire cannabis industry, including companies like Green Growth Brands Inc. (CSE: GGB) (OTCQB: GGBXF), are hoping that the day dawns when the industry will be given equal treatment as other legitimate businesses.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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