A clutch of congresspeople are pushing for the marijuana industry to be included in the next round of government relief for businesses and people affected by the economic fallout of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The lawmakers have made a formal request for such assistance in a brief letter to House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
All told, the document bears the names of 34 members of the House. It's a bipartisan group which includes Democrats Katie Porter and Tulsi Gabbard, and Republican Matt Gaetz.
The recently passed CARES Act coronavirus relief package did not provide any support for the marijuana industry, despite its $2 trillion size. The 34 lawmakers hope to change that, asking in their letter that the sector not only be included in future aid packages, but that cannabis companies also be permitted to receive financial assistance from the government's Small Business Administration (SBA).
At the moment, since the drug remains technically illegal at the federal level, cannabis businesses are prohibited from receiving government funding.
The letter states that marijuana is a business employing around 240,000 people in this country. And despite its struggles, it produces tax revenue for states and municipalities -- a figure of $1.9 billion last year alone is quoted.
If the lawmakers' request is granted, many cannabis businesses large and small in the U.S. would benefit from the help. One that's under a bit of pressure these days is Curaleaf Holdings (OTC:CURLF). Based in Massachusetts and the operator of several dispensaries there, Curaleaf is coping with a shutdown of the state's recreational marijuana market in the wake of the coronavirus.
On Friday, Curaleaf's stock rose by 1.7%; however, that figure was outpaced by the brisk gains of the wider stock market.