House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill this week that would prohibit the Small Business Administration from declining its programs to a legal cannabis-related business.
The Ensuring Safe Capital Access for All Small Businesses Act, introduced Thursday, would allow cannabis companies to receive loans through a handful of the administration’s programs.
Velázquez held a hearing last week to boost small business owners in the legal cannabis industry, which discussed the challenges the cannabis industry faces in accessing programs from administration.
“As the only House Committee dedicated solely to the needs of small firms, it is important for us to be shedding light on the challenges these small entities face as well as the economic potential they offer," she said at the time.
The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) praised the new legislation, and Executive Director Aaron Smith said these programs are taken for granted in other industries.
“By improving access to capital, this legislation will also help level the playing field for entrepreneurs from communities of color and others disproportionately impacted by the failed policies of prohibition seeking to enter the legal cannabis industry,” he said in a press release.
This bill is one of several pieces of cannabis-related legislation introduced this Congress.
In March, the House Financial Services Committee approved bipartisan legislation that would allow banks to work with marijuana businesses that are legal under state law, a breakthrough for marijuana advocates. The measure is awaiting a full House vote.