Hemp Farmers May Now Qualify for Federal Economic Relief
Recently Congress passed a series of bills aimed at offsetting the economic impact of the coronavirus including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Families First Act), the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (CPRSA). We recently wrote about how these economic benefits would not be available for marijuana businesses due to the continued prohibition of marijuana activities under federal law. This was recently confirmed in a tweet from a representative from the Small Business Administration (SBA) responding to a question about whether cannabis businesses would be eligible for federal Coronavirus relief:
With the exception of businesses that produce or sell hemp and hemp-derived products (Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Public Law 115-334), marijuana-related businesses are not eligible for SBA-funded services (OMB, 2 C.F.R. § 200.300).
— SBA Pacific NW (@SBAPacificNW) March 23, 2020
This is a significant burden on the marijuana industry but as you can see from the response above, hemp producers are not disqualified from federal relief thanks to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 aka the 2018 Farm Bill.
However, many hemp farmers have not yet been able to access economic relief