What aid is available for US CBD firms affected by coronavirus?

CBD businesses in the US that have seen business impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and associated social measures could be eligible for a variety of state aid programmes.

Extra funding for the programmes was just approved by both the US House of Representatives and Senate, with Trump expected to sign eminently.

The extra funds means the US Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will both be able to resume providing relief.

The EIDL provides up to $10,000 to small businesses (500 or fewer employees) to help them survive despite revenue losses while the PPP provides loans to aid in employee retention – also for businesses with 500 employees or fewer. Loans may be forgiven if businesses spend at least 75% of the funds on payroll.

Companies may also be eligible for SBA Express Bridge Loans and SBA Debt Relief. More information about these programmes can be found on the SBA’s website.

The type of businesses that can apply for these relief programmes has also changed, with a recent update allowing farms to benefit from EIDL funds.

Hemp farmers are also entitled to some relief from another federal agency – the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA has created the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) with $19bn allotted to it from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The programme is intended to help farmers whose prices and supply chains have been negatively impacted, though the eligibility requirements have not yet been determined.

Unfortunately for some in the CBD sphere, eligibility of cannabis firms has not changed despite lobbying from a variety of sources. Companies that are involved with cannabis – even those indirectly involved – are ineligible. This means companies providing services to cannabis firms will not receive funds, meaning that any “firm that derived any of its gross revenue for the previous business year…from sales to Direct Marijuana Businesses of products or services that could reasonably be determined to aid in the use, growth, distribution, enhancement or other development of marijuana” would not be eligible.

It should also be noted that the new funding for the programme will likely run out quickly. It is smaller than the initial funding which ran out in a matter of weeks and eligibility requirements have largely remained unchanged – despite some criticism over how funds were distributed.

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