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.
Canada’s new marijuana legalization law went into effect on Wednesday, and the U.S. federal government’s response so far has been mostly muted and dispassionate.
The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, for example, posted a few calm and friendly videos simply reminding people not to bring cannabis with them when crossing the border.
The Embassy also launched a frequently asked questions page, which responds to queries about how consuming marijuana or investing or working in the cannabis industry could impact admissibility to the U.S.
Perhaps of most interest to Canadians involved in cannabis businesses, the document reiterates and confirms that “a Canadian citizen working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the United States for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the United States.”
“However, if a traveler is found to be coming to the United States for reasons related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible,” it says.
While one of the questions—”Do you anticipate more American tourists crossing into Canada due to the change in legalization?—seems to acknowledge that many U.S. citizens support and would like to take advantage of Canada’s new marijuana laws, the Embassy doesn’t really provide a direct response.
The FAQ also covers issues related to visa applications.
“If you plan to use marijuana in the United States then you will be found ineligible for a visa based on intending to engage in unlawful activity in the United States,” it says. “It does not matter if you use doctor-prescribed marijuana. If you smoke cannabis in Canada, you may also be found ineligible…if a physician determines that you have a physical or mental disorder with associated harmful behavior – for example, impaired driving – or are a drug abuser or addict.”
When it comes to working or investing in the marijuana industry, the Embassy says it will only affect visas if the person is “found to be coming to the U.S. for reasons related to the cannabis industry.”
The page also says that while “legalization of cannabis in Canada will not have any impact on cannabis’s legality in the United States,” American officials “have discussed legalization of cannabis at various levels” with their Canadian counterparts.
Despite the relatively polite and level-headed response to the new legalization law of its neighbor to the north, the American government isn’t exactly excited about it.
A top U.S. Customs and Border Protection official, for example, said that Canada’s move to grant pardons for past marijuana offenses wouldn’t necessarily shield those individuals from being denied entry into the U.S.
It remains to be seen how President Trump himself, key White House staffers or Department of Justice officials will respond to Canada’s legalization of marijuana if asked about it publicly.
Marijuana Stores Will Be Hard To Find For Most Canadians On Day One Of Legalization
See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:
Trump Administration Has Calm Response To Canadian Marijuana Legalization
Which party is going to take a leadership role in advancing marijuana reform after the midterm elections? It depends on who you ask.
On Thursday, both Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) indicated that their respective party would be backing legislation to change federal cannabis laws in the months after November’s critical election. Rohrabacher said that he’d received assurances that the White House would support reform efforts during the 116th Congress, which begins in January.
“It could be as early as spring of 2019, but definitely in the next legislative session,” he said, noting that President Donald Trump planned to keep his promise to support a bipartisan bill to protect legal states from federal interference.
Later, Blumenauer—a close colleague of the Republican congressman when it comes to cannabis reform efforts—said that Democrats would promote legislation to change cannabis laws in the first half of 2019 if his party retakes the House.
“With Democrats in control, we will be able to have the legislative process work and we’ll see more progress in a relatively short order, I think.”
“These will be some of the easiest things to do in the first six months of a new Congress because they’re supported by the public, the legislation is already teed up and ready to go,” Blumenauer said in an interview with Bloomberg. “It’s one of these areas of progress that will show we can get our act together and move forward.”
“It doesn’t have to be the top priority. It’s simpler than health care or global warming. And it’s supported by the public. I think it’s a no-brainer. I think it moves in the next six months.”
Watch the full interview here:
Blumenauer seems to be breaking somewhat from his party’s leadership. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), for example, said last month that top Democrats haven’t yet “talked about” promoting federal marijuana legislation if the party retakes the House in the midterm elections. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also suggested that the fate of federal cannabis reform would depend, in part, on the will of the president.
“I don’t know where the president is on any of this,” Pelosi said. “So any decision about how we go forward would have to reflect where we can get the result.”
Trump Plans To Back Legal Medical Marijuana After Midterms, GOP Congressman Says
See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:
Democrats And Republicans Clash Over Which Party Will Lead On Marijuana In 2019
Accompanied by a 50 foot inflatable joint, hundreds of people gathered in Washington D.C. on Saturday April 2 to smoke cannabis in front of the White House for the Reschedule 420 demonstration.
The smoke-in, organized by Adam Eidinger of DCMJ, was reportedly inspired by Bill Maher’s “For the Love of Cannabis” segment on HBO where Maher smoked a joint live on television with his guests and criticized President Obama for ignoring the need for cannabis policy reform in the United States.
50ft inflatable joint at Reschedule 420 demonstration on April 2. (Photo by John Kagia /Whaxy).
Participants at the Reschedule 420 demonstration gathered on Pennsylvania Avenue to urge President Obama to de-schedule cannabis before he leaves office.
No arrests were made and only two people were detained, as hundreds of protesters publicly smoked marijuana, dabbed cannabis concentrates and ate edibles in front of the home of the President of the United States.
A member of the Whaxy Team was also on the scene to share his experience with those who were not able to attend.
“DCPD and the secret service were very restrained. I only saw two people get stopped even though there was a thick cloud of smoke and people dabbing with blowtorches.”
Said Bernie Canter,
“I didn’t think it was possible to be hot-boxed outdoors, but you learn something new everyday.”
(All photos by John Kagia/Whaxy)
Adam Eidinger of DCMJ, the event organizer, can be seen in this photo wearing the red hat and sunglasses to the right of the man in the green hat.
Participants holding up the 50ft. inflatable joint in front of the White House.
There was an abortion protest happening in front of the White House at the same time, so people from the cannabis camp held up black sheets to cover up the gruesome pictures of dismembered fetuses during the Reschedule 420 demonstration to prevent the two from being conflated.
Inspired by Bill Maher’s on-air cannabis use and the Obama Administration’s continued avoidance of marijuana policy reform, local D.C. activists are scheduling a public protest in the President’s front yard — The White House.
Scheduled for April 2nd, D.C. Cannabis Campaign will be holding court on Pennsylvania Avenue beginning at 2pm for what is being called the Reschedule 420. As 4/20 is typically a day for marijuana celebrations, the April 2nd date is being used to keep the focus on reform and protest.
“We’re calling on the whole country to come,”
says Adam Eidinger of the DCMJ.
“This is a national mobilization. Some of us may end up in jail, and that’s fine. It’s actually necessary at this point.”
Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I substance and many activists see this as nonsensical, especially amidst a massive opioid epidemic. “We’re living in the dark ages,” says Eidinger.
By smoking cannabis on-air, Bill Maher emphasized the importance of focusing on the end of federal marijuana prohibition. Although medical and recreational cannabis use has been legalized in some states, federal prohibition endangers these programs, especially with changes in the political climate and at the White House. Eidinger, as well as supporters of DCMJ, were inspired by Maher’s actions.
Obama has previously stated that he believes marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol, and admitted to Rep. Steve Cohen that he would consider a legalization bill if confronted with it. Despite promises to reform drug policy in America, his actions have been largely conventional.
“He has the same marijuana policy as George Bush. He’s a hypocrite and we’re calling him out.”
The D.C. Cannabis Campaign may have practice in theatrical forms of civil disobedience, but the same group has had success in decriminalizing minor possession and growing of marijuana in the nation’s capital.
The invitation for the April 2nd event reads:
“Do you think the National Park Service will go after your brownies, gummies, rice crispy treats, or cookies? Doubtful. As we #Reschedule420 this year, we encourage people who do not want to smoke or vape their cannabis to eat it as a form of protest. So in the misquoted words of Marie Antoinette, LET THEM EAT CAKE!”
Learn more about this Reschedule 420 protest a dcmj.org, or RSVP on the group’s Facebook page.