House Passes Legislation to Make Small Businesses in Cannabis Industry Eligible for SBA Lending Programs
Washington, December 4, 2020
Washington, D.C.— Today, the House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2020. The bipartisan bill decriminalizes marijuana at the federal level while enabling states to set their regulatory policies without the threat of federal intervention. The bill also includes provisions, championed by Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), that would allow small businesses operating in the legal cannabis industry to participate in Small Business Administration (SBA) lending programs.
“For too long, outdated federal laws have kept small businesses operating in this legal and legitimate industry unable to access federal lending programs,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “Small businesses in this burgeoning sector fuel local economies and create jobs. The MORE Act will give these small businesses access to the same federal resources available to all small firms while also spurring entrepreneurial development in the communities most impacted by the war on drugs.”
Small businesses in the cannabis industry are an integral part of many local economies and employ 240,000 workers. The MORE Act makes these small businesses eligible to access flagship SBA lending programs. Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure, led the efforts to ensure the legislation allows small businesses in the cannabis industry have access to the training and counseling program offered by SBA resource partners.
The bill also seeks to spark economic development in the communities most impacted by discriminatory drug laws. The legislation calls for creating an Equitable Licensing Grant Program at SBA that would allocate funds to states and localities to develop equitable licensing programs for individuals hurt by marijuana criminalization. Committee Vice Chair Dwight Evans (D-PA) first introduced legislation calling for creating the program and pushed for its inclusion in the MORE Act. The bill would also mandate that the SBA establish a Cannabis Opportunity Program that would provide funding to cities and states to make loans to small cannabis businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.