Federal Stimulus Funds for Cannabis Businesses Would Save Tens of Thousands of American Jobs, New Survey Finds

85% of Cannabis Companies Would Save Jobs With Access to Relief Funds

WASHINGTON – A new national survey from Leafly and the National Cannabis Roundtable shows that providing cannabis businesses COVID-19 federal relief and stimulus funds would save tens of thousands of jobs in a significant sector of US employment. Eighty five percent of companies surveyed said they would be able to save jobs with access to stimulus money, whereas 30% said they will go out of business without access. Despite being declared essential businesses by the majority of states with legal cannabis markets, cannabis businesses are barred from traditional banking services, in turn denying them access to economic relief funds and stimulus funds through the Paycheck Protection Program.

“The cannabis industry is considered essential in nearly every state that has legalized, providing crucial jobs and tax revenue to their communities,” said Yoko Miyashita, Leafly General Counsel. “Yet, the industry can’t access traditional banking services and the impact from that denial of access is compounded in this pandemic, where access to federal stimulus funds, like the Paycheck Protection Program, is only available through banks. This is the time for common sense solutions. We need to pass the SAFE Banking Act and give these tax-paying, job-creating businesses the stimulus and relief funds that will keep thousands of Americans employed during these unprecedented times.”

Legal cannabis has been the fastest growing industry in the US for the past four years, according to the 2020 Leafly Cannabis Jobs Report, the only comprehensive count of cannabis jobs in the absence of federal legalization. As of February 2020, a record-high 243,700 Americans were employed in the legal cannabis industry, making the $10.7 billion legal cannabis industry America’s single greatest job creation engine. Even with the challenges posed by COVID-19, almost one in four companies surveyed said they have added jobs during the COVID-19 crisis, with the majority coming from other industries that have been hard hit, including non-cannabis retail workers (71%) and hospitality workers (52%).

“Before this crisis began, the cannabis industry represented the fastest growing jobs market in the US, despite restrictions on access to banking services,” said Saphira Galoob, NCR Executive Director.  “Our businesses are going to be critical to the country’s economic recovery, and we are asking to be treated like every other small business in the country.  Not only should cannabis businesses have access to economic stimulus and relief funds, they should have access to fundamental banking services through the SAFE Banking Act.”

The survey of 484 cannabis retailers, growers, processors, hardware and service providers was conducted across all legal states between April 20 and May 5, 2020.  While the survey found that 58% of cannabis companies have reduced staff, 88% of those reductions are either furlough or temporary layoffs.  Small businesses with less than 100 employees represented 92% of those surveyed.

A full summary of the survey can be found here.