Massachusetts might be on its way to creating a coronavirus-relief program for cannabis businesses left out of a federal-level coronavirus (COVID-19) funding aid.
The bill for the establishment of the state’s paycheck protection program filed in April by chairwoman Diana DiZoglio was debated on at a Tuesday virtual hearing, according to Marijuana Moment.
The Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses participated in the event held by a Massachusetts legislative committee.
The testimonies of cannabis business owners and entrepreneurs submitted for the online hearing only confirmed they are significantly impacted by the current federal marijuana prohibition that restricts them tax deductions.
“The creation of a Massachusetts PPP loan for cannabis businesses like mine would be a momentous step in the right direction to remedy the inequity that legal, tax-paying cannabis-related businesses like mine are facing during the COVID-19 crisis,” ELEVATE Northeast’ executive director Beth Waterfall said in written testimony.
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Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission’s member Shaleen Title emphasized that small business owners are bearing consequences as well. They are paying taxes and employing a workforce without relying on federal loans and grants.
“The harm is likely to fall more sharply on the very small businesses, workers, families, and communities that our state’s cannabis equity measures are intended to protect,” Title said.
Even though DiZoglio didn’t schedule a vote on the proposal, she assured those present the matter would be revisited in the short term.
“It’s up to the Commonwealth to close the gaps for all of our small businesses and to provide equitable relief in the absence of that relief from the federal government.” the chairwoman said.
Massachusetts’ debate is not a lone case, considering marijuana-relating discussions countrywide are becoming more intense in the light of COVID-19 outbreak and its consequences.
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