The U.S. government is committed to doing its best to ensure that the coronavirus pandemic has as few long term effects as possible. As farmers and business owners look at the hard months to come, they are already moving in anticipation of their needs. In a bid to keep the entire economy from collapsing, they signed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package.
Hemp companies are among those included in the business that are eligible for aid. Hopefully, these efforts will allow companies to stay afloat. Some of the provisions of the package that can apply to hemp businesses include:
- $10 billion for Small Business Administration emergency grants
- up to $10 million of emergency relief is available per business
- $50 billion in borrowing authority for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corp
- $100 million in grants to improve rural broadband
- $454 billion program for guaranteed subsidized loans for enterprise-level companies
- looking to leverage $4.5 trillion in lending to distressed businesses
The hope of the USDA is not to leave farmers out in the cold.
“We will deliver relief assistance to farmers and ranchers as quickly as possible,” Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement.
“Americans across the nation are stepping up to the challenges facing them during these uncertain times. At USDA we are doing our part to ensure those who need help will get it, whether it’s through nutrition assistance, ensuring the food supply chain is safe and secure, or through new flexibilities with our Rural Development loan programs.”
While this stimulus added some help for hemp businesses, there are some places where they could have helped more. Business owners were hoping that they could use this crisis to open up more opportunities that have been closed to them before. There was a petition that Congress circulated, but that, unfortunately, didn’t gain enough ground at this time. It covered things like:
- The SAFE Banking Act to make it easier for cannabis businesses to borrow money from banks.
- Changing the Internal Revenue Service’s tax code to allow customers to use money from their health savings accounts or flexible spending accounts to buy CBD products.
- Allowing CBD to be sold over the counter as a dietary supplement for the next two years.
Hemp advocates think that there have been some great strides for hemp, but that there is still a lot more work that needs to be done. Entrepreneurs and farmers are hoping that the government doesn’t forget about them during this crisis and that their budding market doesn’t get choked off before it gets a chance to blossom.