Earlier this week, MassRoots obtained a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), which has been critical to ensuring our employees are paid their regular salaries so they, in turn, have the money they need to support their families, cover medical bills, and pay rent. We believe that all cannabis-related businesses, both plant-touching and ancillary, should be able to obtain PPP loans in order to support the hundreds of thousands of employees that comprise the regulated cannabis industry.
Paycheck Protection Program Equality
We’re asking our supporters, both individuals and businesses, to take the following steps to raise awareness and help cannabis businesses obtain equal access to PPP funding:
- Tweet the reasons you support #PPPEquality to @realDonaldTrump, @PressSec and your Senators and Congressmen.
- Email the White House and President Trump’s campaign in support of #PPPEquality at [email protected] and [email protected].
- Call the White House at 202-456-1111 and your Senators and Congressmen in support of equal access to PPP funding.
- If you’re employed in the cannabis industry, please record a video testimonial on how PPP funding would impact your life. You can submit it here or Tweet it, tagging @realDonaldTrump, your Senators and Representatives, and using #PPPEquality.
- Post on Instagram, tagging the White House and your representatives, using #PPPEquality on the reasons why you support cannabis businesses having equal access to PPP loans.
Why is structural reform necessary?
When the U.S. federal government signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law on March 27, 2020, one of the measures included in the bill was the Paycheck Protection Program. The PPP is designed to help small businesses and their employees survive during the stay-at-home orders and trying times of the pandemic, which is affecting businesses from all markets.
The PPP website describes the initiative as:
“An SBA loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis,” and “a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.”
While cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, under the Controlled Substances Act, and the new law denies money from the CARES Act to businesses that are federally illegal, these businesses are not operating illegally at the state level. They are tightly regulated by the individual states.
Law-abiding, regulated cannabis businesses, whether plant touching or ancillary, and their employees should be granted the same access to government assistance as any other legally-operating business.
Now is the time to tell the U.S. government that you think the Paycheck Protection Program should be expanded to include cannabis businesses. Stand up for #PPPEquality with us and all of the other small businesses that make-up the regulated cannabis industry in the United States.
Cannabis social network Massroots announced today that Nasdaq denied the company’s request to trade shares on the exchange.
Unhappy with the decision, Massroots issued an outspoken press release condemning Nasdaq’s actions as setting “a dangerous precedent that could prevent nearly every company in the regulated cannabis industry from listing on a national exchange. The company was given the chance to keep this rejection private, but CEO Isaac Dietrich decided to go public in an effort to facilitate change.
Massroots plans on appealing the decision to the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) “if necessary.” Since it’s unclear why Nasdaq rejected Massroots’ application, it’s unfair to say whether or not this ruling will set a precedent for the rest of this nascent industry.
Four of the United States and one District have approved amendments legalizing the recreational use of cannabis for adults, and nearly half of the nation has legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes. Countries all over the world have also started cannabis policy reform movements. With the United States and the rest of the world moving forward, why would the App Store in a country where citizens have the right to freedom of speech be censoring the apps available for download?
As you may have already heard, the Apple App Store recently removed several cannabis apps from their store. Most of those removed were considered to be social apps. MassRoots, the social network app for the cannabis community that was recently removed, has started this online petition for the App Store to change their cannabis policies, and allow social cannabis apps.
Use this link to sign the peition, and join your buds in requesting that Apple update their cannabis policies: sign.massroots.com
photo credit: MassRoots
(Disclaimer: MassRoots and Whaxy share an office space.)
The first ever Marijuana Tech Start-Up Competition concluded Sunday evening as jittery contestants gave their final pitches and waited on a verdict from the judges. The competition was held this past weekend in Denver, Colorado where 125 registered participants spent the entire weekend glued to their Macbooks battling for over $4,000 in cash and prizes. The event boasted 10 canna-tech focused business ideas, an impressive panel of judges, and national news recognition from NBC Nightly News.
The participant registration options were divided into three categories: attendees, developers/designers and those with an idea to pitch. Attendees consisted of marijuana enthusiasts interested in getting a foot in the industry door with the exciting possible opportunity to enter the start-up world from the ground floor. Many talented developers and designers were available to begin product development for each chosen team, lead by 10 different business men and women with ideas to pitch.
The competition kicked off with initial pitches and networking fun on Friday evening, September 26. After all ideas were pitched, developers teamed up with the visionaries in the room to hit the ground running. Teams quickly formed, and game plans were hatched, all while many participants enjoyed the marijuana provided by generous local dispensary donations. The event space was fully stacked full with stoner snacks and Red Bull which allowed the teams to work diligently for nearly 48 long hours between Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday evening brought participants to the culmination of the event where sleepy-eyed teams demo’ed their mobile and desktop applications. Ideas ranged from legal advice software and wholesale distribution networks to social smoking and grow-at-home apps. Judges grilled contestants with somewhat shark tank style questions derived from their own personal experience in the execution and scalability of marijuana related businesses.
This event may have been the first of it’s kind, but will doubtfully be the last. This weekend marked a monumental step in the legitimization of the cannabis industry. Ancillary businesses focused on technology are stepping up to provide the support channels that legal cannabis businesses want and need. Congratulations to MassRoots for an incredible job with this, first ever, Marijuana Tech Start-Up Compeition, signifying the first giant leap for marijuana business.
Photo Credit: MassRoots
In a unique twist to a traditional hackathon or pitch competition, Colorado based cannabis tech startups, MassRoots & ourselves will be hosting the inaugural Marijuana Tech Startup Competition September 26-28 in Denver, CO. We’re extremely excited to bring the technology and cannabis communities together for a weekend of business building, networking, and most importantly fun.
Thus far, we have participants from five different states with ideas ranging from wholesale market places to mobile grow tracking. One of the more exciting things about this event will be the number of industry leading figures attending, as both judges and mentors. If you are someone who is experienced or who recently joined the cannabis industry, this is a great opportunity to rub elbows and soak in knowledge with the who’s who of cannabis in Colorado.
The sponsorship participation from the local Denver business community, cannabis and otherwise has been huge! From Zynga CoFounder Tom Bollich’s new venture Surna to Denver’s longest running dispensary Denver Relief, each of our sponsors is adding amazing value to the event.
We encourage people wanting to attend in any capacity to register at the Eventbrite link below, as we will not be accepting in on-site registrations. For any questions regarding the event itself or sponsorship please email [[email protected]].