Senators Push for Legal Cannabis Businesses to Have SBA Access

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) joined a group of Senators to urge the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations to provide cannabis businesses with access to Small Business Administration (SBA) programs and resources.

The Colorado congressman said in his state, cannabis businesses contributed more than $274 million in taxes to state revenues. However, because of current federal policies, these businesses are prohibited from accessing small business loans and entrepreneurial programs available through the SBA to other businesses.

“SBA loan programs would be especially helpful to cannabis small businesses because they would fill gaps left by the private sector and could expand the availability of capital for many entrepreneurs– including for our minority, women, and veteran business owners,” the senators wrote. “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.”

Bennet was joined by U.S. Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Ed Markey (D-MA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

“Most recently, Delaware, Ohio, and Minnesota joined a long list of states and the District of Columbia that have legalized both the medicinal and recreational sale and use of cannabis,” the letter said. “In 2022, states collected nearly $3 billion in tax revenue from legal cannabis sales, and that number is expected to grow as more states are poised to legalize cannabis this year.

However, SBA’s current policy excludes from its loan and entrepreneurial development programs all small businesses with “direct” or “indirect” products or services that aid the use, growth, enhancement, or other development of cannabis. Consequently, small businesses in states with some form of legal cannabis must choose between remaining eligible for SBA financing and support and participating in or doing business with a rapidly-growing and legal industry.”

Courtesy of Liz Carey, Financial Regulation News