Federal SBA confirms that cannabis companies not eligible for disaster relief

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Federal cannabis restrictions make it impossible for companies to seek financial assistance

The current illegal status of cannabis in the federal government can lead to feelings of frustration when professional honest businesses, legally operating at the state level, get the cold treatment from the government facing a global pandemic. The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) confirmed on Monday that no marijuana-based companies are eligible for any of the disaster relief loans intended to lessen the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The Northwest branch of the agency confirmed the information by responding to a tweet from a canna-business owner that made the inquiry.

“With the exception of businesses that produce or sell hemp and hemp-derived products [that were federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill], marijuana-related businesses are not eligible for SBA-funded services,” the post states. It adds, “Even though federal law prohibits the SBA from providing direct assistance, there are great resources for small businesses available from state and local sources.”

Greg Hubly is based in Washington state and expressed his frustration with the system as his business supports “10 families I’m responsible for and know all this talk about business relief is just more bullshit messaging for my industry.” The agency basically sent this cannabis business owner back to state authorities to seek another kind of relief program.

This is something that was confirmed last week by an SBA spokesperson. “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.” This represents a big issue for an industry that is now massive in several states, giving job opportunities to many people.