While cannabis is legal for medical and/or adult use in most U.S. states, its categorization as a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and status as federally illegal has many of the hundreds of thousands of workers in the industry concerned they will not be able to access federal relief put in place because of COVID-19.

A coalition of cannabis industry associations are having to ask federal regulators not to overlook the industry that employs them as the financial impact of the pandemic begins to more aggressively unfold.

Although it’s estimated the state-legal cannabis industry employs almost a quarter of a million U.S. workers, nearly all are precluded from qualifying for emergency relief funds or other federal measures in place to mitigate the economic effects of the global outbreak. This is despite the fact that many states have deemed cannabis dispensaries and related businesses to be essential services.

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