What The Stimulus Package Means For Hemp
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Last week, the U.S. Congress passed the $2 trillion CARES Act, which, in part, expands key benefits to small specialized businesses such as the hemp industry. The stimulus comes in response to the catastrophic heath and financial distress caused by coronavirus COVID-19.
While the word "hemp" is never mentioned in the bill, there is ample reason for those in the hemp industry to be optimistic. "There is great news for hemp farmers as well as small businesses in the hemp space," according to a newsletter released by the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, a coalition of leading companies and organizations advocating on the federal and state level for safe hemp and CBD products.
Key benefits to the hemp business
The following is a list of measures that will directly impact those in the hemp industry.
- $349 billion for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Business Loans Program Account
- $17 billion for the SBA’s Business Loans Program Account for payment of covered loans guaranteed by SBA under the Small Business Act
- $10 billion for SBA’s Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans program
- $265 million for SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development Program
- $9.5 billion to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for providing support for impacted agricultural producers, including producers of specialty crops
- $20.5 million to the Rural Business Program Account for the cost of loans for rural business development programs under the Farm and Rural Development Act
- In general, those with federally-backed mortgaged loans secured by USDA may request forbearance for up to 180 days, during which no fees, penalties, or interest will accrue.
More to come?
Industry analysts hope more relief will come in further rounds of the stimulus. "That doesn't necessarily mean dollars," says Jonathan Miller, General Counsel to the US Hemp Roundtable. "It may mean simple regulatory relief to help hemp farmers do banking and sell their products.
For now, he says the hemp industry has their immediate sight set on figuring out how they can help in a time of an emergency. "We're focused less on how government can help us and how we can help the relief efforts," says.