Let me be frank with you: I’ve been shut out.
I’m shut out of the halls of Congress, that is.
As NORML’s political director, it’s my job to go to Capitol Hill and engage in face-to-face conversations with lawmakers and their staff about the failures of cannabis prohibition and the need for reform.
But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, my interactions have become very different very quickly. Lawmakers are distracted. Staffers are working from home. When I can schedule a meeting, it’s now a short phone call. And there’s one more thing, lawmakers’ focus has largely narrowed to solely responding to the ongoing public health and economic crisis.
But, this new reality doesn’t mean that we don’t have the ability to positively influence federal policy. We do. And, that’s why I am asking for your help right now.
Two of our greatest champions in Congress, Representative Earl Blumenauer and Senator Jacky Rosen, are circulating bipartisan sign-on letters to Congressional Leadership demanding that state-licensed cannabis businesses are able to access the Small Business Administration. This proposed language, which we are seeking to have included in the forthcoming COVID-19 relief package, would mirror similar provisions in the MORE Act and would help to ensure that small and medium-size businesses are able to weather the economic downturn.
If you want to see a robust consumer-oriented cannabis marketplace, then we must act now to protect these small businesses. We must not let the industry become dominated only by those big businesses that have the venture capital and deep pockets to survive these uncertain times. Send a message to your members of Congress and tell them to cosign the letter to Congressional Leadership.
Right now, the majority of states that regulate cannabis commerce have deemed the industry to be “essential” to the health and welfare of the community. Many of these establishments are small-to-medium size operators, and their employees are keeping their doors open without access to the support systems in place for other businesses, thus depriving them of much-needed resources in this time of crisis.
It is my fear that a majority of these small operators will eventually no longer be able to compete in this environment against the larger, more well-funded players, and that we will therefore see an acceleration of consolidation within the cannabis industry.
Now more than ever, if we are to provide pathways of opportunity and ownership for anyone other than the very rich, we must protect these small businesses in order to ensure a level playing field in these emerging markets.
Join me and thousands of others in demanding that we protect and promote small businesses in the emerging legal cannabis industry. We must not allow them to fail so that so-called “big marijuana” can take over. Send a message now!
After you send a message, make sure to share our letter writing campaign on social media to encourage others to do the same:
Together, we’re going to legalize cannabis nationwide. As for right now, this would be a great start.
Thanks for all you do,
NORML Political Director
P.S. During these difficult times, NORML’s efforts have largely been supported by our amazing sustaining members who contribute a few bucks a month to help ensure we have the resources for the long fight. If you can, please kick in $5, $10 or $20 a month to help us keep going.