The economic situation in the United States is extremely dire for millions of people as our nation recovers from the COVID pandemic. So many industries have been decimated and the American people across demographics need assistance. Some help appears to be on the way as Congress is debating a relief and stimulus package. While our elected officials debate the size of stimulus checks, whether to increase the minimum wage, or several other aspects of their next major economic bill, they should be making plans to assist the cannabis industry, one of our nation’s few bright spots.
As Iris Dorbian writes in Forbes, the cannabis industry is booming on one level, but beneath the surface, you can see major obstacles remain because of federal prohibition:
Unlike other industries that were badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession, hiring in the legal cannabis industry has been booming. Experts attribute the industry’s designation as “essential” at the start of the outbreak as a key reason for the surge. However, challenges still mount. For instance, the industry may be growing exponentially, it is fragmented thanks to the federal illegality.
Federal law prevents or extremely complicated cannabis businesses’ access to banking accounts and other financial services while taxing companies at a ridiculous rate as normal business expenses cannot be deducted. While legal states announce record-breaking cannabis sales and revenue generation, small businesses, the lifeblood of our country’s economy are hindered while multinational corporations flourish. While it would be great for cannabis regulations to promote smaller operators, at the very least they should provide some type of even playing field. Instead, as usual, the mom-and-pops suffer disproportionately, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Craft cannabis boutique’s like Pendleton, Oregon’s Kind Leaf, are providing jobs, generating millions for important state programs, and give back to their local communities. By embracing the cannabis industry, the United States can improve our economy and improve lives.