Rosen Introduces Legislation to Ensure Cannabis Small Businesses Can Access SBA Loans and Programs Available to Other Small Businesses

WASHINGTON, DC — Yesterday, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, introduced the Fair Access for Cannabis Small Business Act to ensure that legally operating cannabis small businesses have access to loans and programs provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Currently, the SBA excludes all small businesses with direct or indirect products or services that aid the use, growth, or enhancement of cannabis from accessing SBA loans and programs. 

“The unfair barriers to basic federal support and resources have hurt our state’s legally-operating cannabis small businesses,” said Senator Rosen. “This legislation will level the playing field so that cannabis small businesses – including those owned by people of color, women, and veterans– have access to the same federal resources and loans that other legal businesses are entitled to.”

“Lack of access to capital and banking services remain the greatest barriers to entry into the cannabis industry,” said Layke Martin, Executive Director of Nevada Cannabis Association. “We are grateful for Senator Rosen’s efforts to support small cannabis businesses by increasing access to SBA loans and programs.”

“Senator Rosen’s landmark legislation would help advance equity and innovation in the cannabis industry by leveling the playing field for independent cannabis operators,” said Khadijah Tribble, CEO of the U.S. Cannabis Council. If paired with the SAFE Banking Act, The Fair Access for Cannabis Small Businesses Act would create a regulatory framework that would ensure a vibrant startup scene and a diversity of players.”

“Thank you to Senator Rosen for putting forth this thoughtful piece of legislation that underlines the need for us to help promote small businesses in the cannabis industry,” said Kaliko Castille, President of the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA). “At MCBA, we believe that when we center small businesses in our policy making, it is Black and brown entrepreneurs that will benefit — as most of the largest cannabis companies are not minority owned. It is critical that small businesses in the cannabis industry have an opportunity to access the same resources as any other non-cannabis business.”

This legislation would ensure cannabis small businesses have access to SBA programs and loans like 7(a) loans, disaster loans, microloans, the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, and  SBA’s resource partners including SCORE, Veterans Business Outreach Centers, and Women’s Business centers.

Senator Rosen has long been a leader in the fight to ensure cannabis small businesses have access to banking services and SBA resources. Last year while questioning then-nominee for SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman, Senator Rosen highlighted the need for opening up SBA resources to legally-operating cannabis small businesses. She also sent a letter earlier this year urging Senate Appropriations to include language preventing the SBA from excluding from its loan and entrepreneurship programs legally operated cannabis small businesses in Nevada and across the country. Senator Rosen had also previously led a bipartisan letter to House and Senate Armed Services Committee leadership in December 2021 urging them to keep the SAFE Banking Act in the FY 2022 NDAA.