Many Americans have benefited from, and some have come to depend on the federal government’s stimulus package as well as unemployment benefits. The over $1,000 stimulus checks as well as unemployment benefits allowed many to continue to pay bills, make rent, and feed their families. As of now for many the $600 weekly benefit is being reduced to around $200 per week. Negotiations for Congress to extend the benefit fell apart this week.
On Friday Trump stated, from his golf club, that he would issue an Executive Order to resolve the situation if no deal is reached…. Umm like many things he said it is not clear if he even has the power to do so. Marijuana Business daily also reports that the cutting of these benefits may also hit the cannabis industry hard as well.
For many states cannabis has been a steady flow of revenue during the coronavirus pandemic. This is reflected in many states deeming cannabis businesses as “essential” during lock down periods. Specifically recreational sales of cannabis may fall as citizens seek to budget and conserve resources.
Communities that have traditionally been affected by marijuana policies are also going to be affected by the cuts in unemployment benefits if no deal is reached. Let’s also look at an element of owner/operator dynamics, not simply the consumer aspect of the industry. In Illinois, recreational marijuana sales jumped to $61 million dollars in July. However, according to Marijuana Business Daily, “social equity business applicants have been unable to reap any of the benefits because of months-long delays in the issuance of their permits, which has kept them sidelined”. Is there a theme across the country locking out “social equity” and “marginalized communities” from participating in this economic cannabis boom?
Social equity advocates in Illinois are suggesting that the state use some of the tax revenue to offset the continually accruing expenses applicants face while their applications are pending. According to Marijuana Business Daily, “if the state were to move more quickly on social equity permits, that could create even more jobs, more sales and more tax revenue – making it a win-win for the state and MJ entrepreneurs”. So the question is why hasn’t the state moved already and will it move quickly to resolve this issue?
Similarly in Baltimore, minority applicants that applied under a social equity platform have been delayed and allege bias in the handling of their processes. We recently looked at the case of Sean Worsely, a veteran facing 5 years for driving through Alabama with a valid medical cannabis card and cannabis. We are seeing that weather as a licensed medical user, cannabis entrepreneur, or simply a person using recreational that cannabis policies are still selectively applied or selectively ignored when dealing with certain populations.