That approval approved the East Wareham firm to start out operations on March 24, which occurred to finish up being the day an order from the governor shut down companies deemed non-essential, together with marijuana firms.
“Simply someday earlier than we have been capable of make our first sale, we have been shut down,” mentioned Brown on Tuesday, testifying earlier than state lawmakers in assist of a invoice that will supply a Massachusetts model of the federal Paycheck Safety Program, or PPP, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brown mentioned her firm was compelled to furlough its entire crew.
“All I can do now’s wait, with no revenue and no income,” she mentioned. “And whereas I wait, I nonetheless pay my hire, my lenders, my utilities and my medical health insurance for my furloughed staff.”
Gov. Charlie Baker in March issued an order that shut down non-essential companies beginning March 24. Whereas medical marijuana firms are allowed to function in the course of the pandemic, adult-use marijuana companies have been shuttered since. The order has been extended multiple times, and now has an end-date of Might 18.
The Joint Committee on Neighborhood Growth and Small Companies met nearly Tuesday to listen to testimony on two payments, S. 2564, An Act to assist MassMakers, and S. 2643, An Act establishing a Massachusetts Paycheck Safety Program (PPP) for companies ineligible for the comparable federal PPP.
Whereas the PPP invoice would help a number of totally different industries which were ignored of the federal PPP, nearly all of the dialog throughout Tuesday’s listening to was centered round leisure marijuana.
“We are able to’t hold having hashish be the odd enterprise out,” mentioned Caroline Pineau, the proprietor and CEO of Haverhill Stem and an financial empowerment applicant. “Governor Baker mentioned liquor shops can keep open but closes down hashish. This arbitrary reasoning additional disproportionately impacts your entire business, an business that has demonstrated we are able to safely function with correct social distancing, appointment solely and on-line ordering.”
Pineau reiterated that hashish companies like hers have payrolls, taxes, licensing charges, mortgages and excessive insurance coverage premiums. However as a result of marijuana continues to be federally unlawful, marijuana companies have been left of financial aid measures.
“What am I purported to do,” requested Pineau, who advised the committee she invested thousands and thousands into her enterprise whereas doing all the pieces by-the-book.
Enterprise homeowners repeated most of the identical factors: Massachusetts is the one state with authorized marijuana that has shut down adult-use gross sales amid the pandemic, and that the state just isn’t benefitting from tax income with these companies shuttered.
With out the invoice’s passage, the long run for small companies within the state’s marijuana business might be grim, some predicted.
“With out this invoice passing, native hashish firms face extinction earlier than we get going. We are able to’t let this be our legacy,” mentioned Brown, who advised the committee that final yr, there was upwards of $84 million in tax income from hashish gross sales.
Ellen Rosenfeld, the president of CommCan, which she owns together with her brothers, testified that CommCan has contributed greater than $1.1 million in gross sales tax to the state in fewer than 5 months. A PPP mortgage would return $400,000 to CommCan, she mentioned.
“We have now achieved all we are able to to guard our staff,” mentioned Rosenfeld, who testified that the corporate has not laid off any of its 90 staff. “The PPP mortgage would add to that safety.”
CommCan has a cultivation facility in Medway, a co-located medical and adult-use dispensary in Millis and a medical-only dispensary in Southborough.
Segun Idowu, the chief director of the Black Financial Council of Massachusetts, mentioned any Massachusetts model of the PPP will need to have a particular carve-out for minority-owned companies to entry the funds.
“We consider that the hashish business gives Massachusetts with a singular alternative to develop wealth in already struggling communities,” Idowu mentioned. “[The governor’s] order might have been well-intentioned however it’ll have the disastrous impact of destroying any probability that the state had of making fairness in an business that was already and is already deeply inequitable.”
Particularly, Idowu mentioned he was considering of Pure Oasis, the state’s first economic empowerment applicant to open, which greeted its first clients in Boston simply earlier than the non-essential enterprise order.
David O’Brien, the president and CEO of the Massachusetts Hashish Enterprise Affiliation, requested the committee to contemplate approaching the Hashish Management Fee, which has a gathering scheduled for Thursday, to see if it might supply a letter of assist for a Massachusetts model of the PPP.
State Sen. Diana DiZoglio, the senate chair of the committee, testified because the sponsor of the laws and mentioned that small companies are in disaster and that it’s as much as the state to shut these gaps and supply equitable aid.
After Baker’s order closing down leisure companies, a bunch launched a lawsuit towards the governor. A judge ruled that Baker was acting constitutionally in his determination to shutter leisure companies, however steered that there are methods for the businesses to function safely in the course of the pandemic.
As leisure shops shut their doorways, the state noticed a spike in new registrations for medical marijuana sufferers. Hashish regulators have allowed for the recreational market to support the medical market with wholesale transfers.
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— to www.masslive.com