There’s a Cannabis Reform in the Latest COVID-19 Bill

By Rolling Up

It’s been more than two months now and the coronavirus has disrupted businesses and the economy in more ways than imaginable. Businesses have been suffering across the board and it seems like there isn’t an end in sight in the looming of bad news. With the unemployment rate at 15%, things will not be returning back to normal any time soon. 

In September 2019, the House made history by passing the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, but it has sat in limbo since then. Advocates have proposed changing the language in the Small Business Administration (SBA) relief programs to include cannabis businesses in the legislation. At the moment, the bill specifically prevents marijuana businesses from getting relief from the government. The pages in the SAFE Act have been included in the 1,815 pages of COVID-19 bill: the HEROES Act. 

In the $3 trillion HEROES Act, the bill contains provisions to reform marijuana banking laws. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) is making the case for banks that service marijuana businesses from being penalized by federal regulators. Republican lawmakers have argued that it doesn’t have a place in the COVID-19 bill. 

The bill sounds great on paper, but it’s unlikely that the legislation is something that the Republican led Senate/President Trump will agree with. 

“Cannabis businesses across the country have been deemed essential during this pandemic, and these businesses and their estimated 243,000 employees deserve equity with other legal businesses,” Perlmutter said. “The SAFE Banking Act would address the increased health risk of spreading COVID-19 on bank notes and coins as well as the increased public risk in this cash-only industry. This bill will help protect jobs and safe lending in our communities.”

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