While some businesses are seeing bailouts from the government, the cannabis industry is being left up in smoke, as some are finding themselves cut out of federal aid.
On April 20 (4/20), a day where the cannabis industry usually draws in its largest sales numbers, some shops that rely heavily on tourists are getting the burnt end of a slump.
According to CNBC, “sales in Colorado reportedly fell 21 percent in the second half of March, compared to a year earlier. In Nevada they fell 15 percent.”
“Some businesses are running into choppy waters,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon.
What makes matters worse is that these businesses cannot access federal aid because they are considered illegal in the eyes of the U.S. government.
Blumenauer and three colleagues understand this and are pushing both parties for the next round of Small Business Administration loans to include the cannabis industry.
“There are a quarter of a million people working in state legal cannabis businesses, they pay almost $2 billion in taxes,” he said, adding that the industry actually pays a disproportionate amount in taxes “because the crazy federal government rules don’t allow them to deduct all their business expenses.”
In Canada, bankruptcies have already started for those that have cannabis businesses, though Canada is a country where marijuana is legal on the federal level. In America, cannabis companies may not be able to seek the same federal bankruptcy protection as other businesses even though they pay federal taxes.
Blumenauer mentions that there are four pieces of legislation that have made their way out of committee in Congress that deal with access to “banking, research, special help for veterans and full legalization.” He wants to level the playing field for the cannabis industry - an industry that is recognized as legal in 33 states.
“They have employees that have needs, they contribute to the economy, they pay taxes, they provide essential services,” Blumenauer said.
He hopes that the tide may be turning in favor of people working in an industry that helps the country maintain employment opportunities for Americans.