The emergence of COVID-19 in the United States is impacting almost everyone both personally and professionally. Please use ACIL as a resource for information from federal agencies, as well as relevant developments related to Congress' response. We will keep you informed as news develops, as well as our actions to help support you and your teams.
ACIL Advocacy Correspondence
On Monday, April 20, 2020, the ACIL sent a congressional leadership letter regarding the inclusion of cannabis laboratories in the Small Business Administration (SBA) Programs being offered during the pending and upcoming COVID-19 stimulus relief packages.
On Thursday, April 23, 2020, we learned that Reps. Blumenauer (D-OR) and Perlmutter (D-CO) just introduced the Emergency Cannabis Small Business Health and Safety Act in
the House of Representatives.
This legislation would allow legal cannabis businesses to access
disaster relief loans and other programs available during the COVID-19
crisis, which mirrors our recently sent congressional leadership letter
on the issue.
ACIL's CWG unanimously voted to
support the legislation with the possible caveat to include
testing in it, which ACIL has requested on your behalf with both congressional
COVID-19 Government Relations Updates
May 22, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released two new
interim final rules on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) clarifying
some aspects of the program including general eligibility qualifications
and payback provisions. One rule addresses
the requirements for loan forgiveness and the other outlines PPP loan
review procedures and related borrower and lender responsibilities. With
the first funds disbursed under the PPP on April 3, the first 56-day
period of payroll protection is expected to
end this week for the first batch of loan recipients. Review the two PPP interim final rules below:
On May 19th, 2020, a bipartisan coalition of 34 state and territory attorneys general are urging Congress to pass coronavirus relief legislation that includes language protecting banks that service marijuana businesses from being penalized by
federal regulators. Click here to review the letter
House Passes CARES Act II.On Friday, May 15, 2020, the House passed the Heroes Act, a $3 trillion COVID-19 relief package that would deliver federal aid for state and local governments, provide rent and mortgage relief and expand unemployment
and food assistance programs. This massive aid package was approved mostly along party lines with only a handful of Republicans joining most Democrats in backing the legislation.
Included in Heroes Act was language to the SAFE Banking Act,
allowing for cannabis banking. The legislation now moves to the Senate
where Majority Leader McConnell has indicated that the chamber is not
expected to take up the measure.
On May 12, 2020, the
House Democrats introduced the Heroes (COVID-19 Stimulus IV) Act. Please see page 1066 of
the bill, which highlights the inclusion of the SAFE Banking
Act, allowing for cannabis banking. Also, page 822 allows for the SBA
PPP to include all nonprofits including trade
Click HERE to see the full bill.
Click HERE to read the summary.
the call for increased nationwide testing continues, the White
House Coronavirus Task Force has announced plans to prioritize testing supplies
the large commercial laboratories currently providing over half of the
nation's testing. Hospital and university labs report continued
difficulty finding necessary supplies and reagents to perform testing
that often provides a more rapid return on results
compared to sending away for large commercial lab processing. CDC has
communicated the same message regarding a testing supply deficit to ACIL
in our conversations to expand testing to eligible member
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP):
The SBA announced that they would begin
accepting PPP loan applications as of 10:30 a.m. EST on Monday, April
27, 2020. The SBA continues to urge businesses in need of this funding
to apply as quickly as possible.
On Tuesday, April 28, 2020, SBA
Administrator Carranza and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin issued a joint
statement on oversight of the PPP loans.
have noted the large number of companies that have appropriately
reevaluated their need for PPP loans and promptly repaid loan funds in
response to SBA guidance reminding all borrowers of an important
certification required to obtain a PPP loan. To further
ensure PPP loans are limited to eligible borrowers, the SBA has
decided, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, that it
will review all loans in excess of $2 million, in addition to other
loans as appropriate, following the lender’s submission
of the borrower’s loan forgiveness application. Regulatory guidance
implementing this procedure will be forthcoming. Review the full
statement here: https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases
H.R. 266 - Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act
On April 21, the Senate passed H.R. 266, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act,
to provide $484 billion in COVID-19 aide small businesses, hospitals and to expand testing.
The $484 billion aid package negotiated by congressional leaders and the administration would include:
• $310 billion in additional lending authority for the Paycheck Protection Program, with some funds set aside to support loans issued by smaller lenders.
•$60 billion for separate disaster loans to small businesses.
• $75 billion for hospitals.
• $25 billion for virus testing.
The legislation will next go to the House and Speaker Pelosi has indicated that the measure will pass. President Trump is expected to sign the legislation into law. Full text of H.R. 266. Summary of H.R. 266.
On Monday, April 27, 2020, President Trump unveiled the Opening Up America Overview and Testing Blueprint designed to facilitate state development
and implementation of robust testing plans and rapid response programs described in the President's
Opening Up America Again Guidelines. The
President’s Blueprint sets
forth the partnership between Federal, State, local, and tribal governments, along with the private-sector and professional associations, all of which will play important roles in meeting the Nation’s testing needs. The administration's testing
overview and testing blueprint are attached to this email.
On April 15th, President Trump released guidelines for “Opening Up America Again”
The plan proposes that States should only begin lifting the restrictions when they can
maintain a downward
trajectory of new COVID-19 cases, symptom free for 14 days,
testing for health care workers, and
all patients without needing crisis care.
Health care experts say the phased re-entry the White House has outlined is the right approach, but warn that more widespread testing may be necessary before most people can safely return to work or school, which is not spelled out
in the guidelines. The White House also shared a release on President Trump convening
Members of Congress to serve on the “Opening Up America Again” Congressional group.
U.S. Department of Labor Issues Regulation for New Paid Leave Programs
On April 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued their regulations re
garding how American workers and employers will benefit from the protections and relief offered by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, both part of the Families First Coronavirus Response
Act (FFCRA). The department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) posted a temporary rule issuing regulations pursuant to this new law, which went into effect on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Read the new paid leave regulation.
IRS Guidance on COVID-19 Tax Credits for Businesses Through the Required Paid Leave Programs
The FFCRA provides
small and midsize employers refundable tax credits that reimburse
them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing paid sick and family
leave wages to their employees for leave related to COVID-19. For
a more detailed overview of these tax credits, click here. For FAQs, click here.