COVID-19 Coronavirus Information
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 offices.

Member Resources

 

COVID-19 Government Relations Updates

On Friday, 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 associations, etc.
Click HERE to see the full bill.
Click HERE to read the summary.

TESTING: As the call for increased nationwide testing continues, the White House Coronavirus Task Force has announced plans to prioritize testing supplies for 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 laboratories.

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. 

“We 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.

Reopening Plan:

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 GuidelinesThe 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

  1. maintain a downward trajectory of new COVID-19 cases, symptom free for 14 days,

  2. have robust testing for health care workers, and

  3. can treat 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) 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.