Despite the fact that pot is probably putting more than its share of the nation’s psychological wellbeing on its back, the federal government doesn’t seem to be willing to offer legal weed an equal measure of support. The Small Business Association stated last week via Twitter that cannabis businesses will remain ineligible to receive any of the $50 billion in low-interest disaster relief loans that the president promised the agency would distribute.
“Because federal law prohibits the sale and distribution of cannabis, the SBA does not provide financial assistance to businesses that are illegal under federal law,” SBA’s Carol Chastang told Cannabis Business Times. “Businesses that aren’t eligible include marijuana growers and dispensers, businesses that sell cannabis products, etc., even if the business is legal under local or state law.”
The problem boils down to the fact that while cannabis is recreationally legal in 11 states, D.C., and two territories, it remains federally illegal, which already inhibits basic business conduct like banking and interstate trade. Now, federal prohibition will also affect the business's ability to receive emergency aid from the government.
Beyond the fact that it’s easier to stay inside for, uh, an indefinite amount of time if you’re baked as much as possible, local governments have recognized that right now, access to weed is also about medical necessity. Dispensaries with medicinal licenses in states like California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, and Washington have been designated as essential businesses.