A group of eight senators is advocating for state-legal cannabis businesses to be given access to federal Small Business Administration (SBA) programs and services. This move could support the growth and success of this rapidly expanding industry.
Nevada Senator, Jacky Rosen (D), is pushing for cannabis businesses to be able to access Small Business Administration (SBA) funding. In a letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG), Senator Rosen requested that language be added to future spending legislation to allow for SBA support of the cannabis industry.
The letter has been sent to appropriators, requesting them to prevent the Small Business Administration (SBA) from rejecting loan applications for four programs that cater to "legally operating cannabis small businesses in states where cannabis sale and usage is legal". This could potentially open up new avenues for small businesses operating in the cannabis industry.
Last year, Rosen spearheaded a similar letter, but it wasn't included in the final appropriations package for FSGG. Senators are now optimistic about a new outcome for FY 2024 in the current session.
Seven senators, including Ron Wyden, Tammy Duckworth, Ed Markey, John Hickenlooper, Alex Padilla, Cory Booker, and Jeff Merkley, signed the letter that was sent in late March.
A group of senators wrote that state-legal cannabis businesses are struggling to get banking services due to conflicts with federal law. These small businesses end up operating entirely in cash, ultimately putting public safety at risk.
the letter also says, "Access to SBA loan and entrepreneurship programs would support a rapidly growing industry that creates jobs, supports small businesses, and raise revenues in states that have chosen to legalize cannabis."
Congressional lawmakers are taking steps to make financial services more accessible to the cannabis industry. The letter from senators highlights the challenges that marijuana companies face when it comes to accessing basic banking services and federally backed loans under prohibition.
The issue of banking access for cannabis-related businesses is about to be tackled head-on. The Senate Banking Committee is holding a hearing this Thursday to address the recently reintroduced SAFE Banking Act. This legislation could pave the way for fair and secure financial services for the cannabis industry.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced at a lively cannabis rally in New York City that he will not waste any time in putting legislation into action. After moving out of committee, the proposed legislation will immediately go to the floor, with social equity provisions that include expungements for people with prior marijuana convictions being attached. This is a huge step towards creating a more just and fair society for all.
The recent letter from a group of senators to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on FSGG and the upcoming hearing at the Senate Banking Committee are both important steps toward making financial services more accessible for cannabis-related businesses. If successful, these initiatives could provide much-needed support for an industry that is rapidly growing yet still faces significant obstacles due to federal prohibition.
With strong leadership from Senator Jacky Rosen (D) in Nevada as well as other members of Congress pushing this issue forward, we may soon see small business owners within the legal cannabis space able to access vital loan programs and banking services without fear of criminal prosecution or discrimination. This would be a major victory not only for those in the industry but all citizens who believe in creating equal opportunities regardless of their chosen profession.