In a telephone town hall with cannabis small businesses in Colorado’s 7th District, Rep. Perlmutter (D-CO) said that he is negotiating to include access to banking institutions for marijuana businesses in the next COVID-19 stimulus package. Perlmutter went on to say that he has secured the support of Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
According to Perlmutter, the issue was brought up last week during a Democratic caucus meeting. The Small Business Administration (SBA) presently disallows cannabis and ancillary companies from qualifying for lending programs. The question regarding whether or not cannabis businesses and the industry will obtain eligibility for federal loans and financial support was brought up a cannabis dispensary business executive.
“We have prepared legislation that we hope will be in the next package. Probably not the one that’s being discussed right now, but we’ve asked for legislation to allow for banking, for SBA lending, for testing to be part of the next package,” said Perlmutter to an executive for LivWell Enlightened Health, a recreational and medical marijuana dispensary company operating in both Colorado and Oregon. “Whether we’re going to get it, whether we can get the Senate to finally get off of their fannies and pass it, I don’t know. But you can rest assured that the issue you raised is front and center.”
A correction was issued shortly thereafter by a spokesperson for Rep. Perlmutter who clarified that Perlmutter misspoke when he mentioned adding access to SBA benefits in the upcoming bill.
Roughly 6 months ago, Rep. Perlmutter helped work to pass a major piece of legislation out of the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support called the Safe Banking Act. Perlmutter says it had been sitting in the Senate and work had been done on it, “and then the pandemic hit.”
“I raised this very question to our caucus, to Speaker Nancy Pelosi directly last week, saying, look this is a major employer in Colorado and elsewhere around the country. They have been deemed essential services in many, many states,” Perlmutter said. “They cannot access any of the relief that we are providing for in any of these three packages that we have passed. She said, as did the other leadership members on the call, said she wanted to see it get passed.”
Perlmutter went on to say that he, with the support of others, has readied legislation that he hopes will be included not in the current stimulus package being negotiated but the next stimulus package.
“We’ve asked for legislation to allow for banking, for SBA lending, for testing to be part of the next package. Whether we’re going to get it, whether we can get the Senate to finally get off their fannies and pass it, I don't know,” said Perlmutter. “But you can rest assured that the issue you raised is front and center. The Speaker said she wants to see it passed. We’ll just continue to work on it in the next couple weeks.”