Nydia Velázquez Aims to Boost Marijuana Small Business
Economic experts predict that the marijuana industry could one day reach $166 billion in annual sales, all while disrupting industries ranging from alcohol and tobacco to health and wellness. But questions around diversity and equality continue to be a top issue for the weed game that continues to disproportionately and negatively impacts people of color in both the private sector and criminal justice.Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) introduced legislation last month to extend several Small Business Administration (SBA) initiatives to small businesses operating in the cannabis sector. The Ensuring Safe Capital Access for All Small Businesses Act would make direct or indirect cannabis businesses eligible for SBA-backed loans. Since some identified-SBA loans are geared towards borrowers who have trouble obtaining credit from conventional loans, Velázquez’s bill would help level the playing field for entrepreneurs from communities of color and other underserved areas that have been disproportionately harmed by the "War on Drugs." "As our society continues to move the needle on this issue, we must recognize that legal cannabis businesses are often small businesses that fuel local economies and create new jobs," said Velázquez, Chair of the House Small Business Committee. "That is why I am pleased to introduce legislation to extend affordable lending options to small businesses that operate in the cannabis space, while simultaneously recognizing the structural disadvantages facing entrepreneurs from communities of color." More here.