Struggling Through the Pandemic: Cannabis Social Equity During COVID-19

17 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2020

See all articles by Douglas A. Berman

Douglas A. Berman

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Jana Hrdinova

Ohio State University (OSU), Michael E. Moritz College of Law, Students

Mark Pauley

Ohio State University (OSU)

Dexter Ridgway

Ohio State University (OSU)

Date Written: June 16, 2020

Abstract

In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 national emergency, states across the United States began issuing shelter-in-place orders curtailing operations of individual businesses based on “essential” and “non-essential” classification. Virtually all states with legalized medical cannabis, and the majority of adult-use states, allowed cannabis establishments to remain open albeit often with significant restrictions on their operations. Yet, the cannabis industry, and small, minority-owned or social equity designated businesses in particular, are not insulated from the broader economic shockwaves spreading through the country. In April 2020, the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center conducted a survey asking patients/consumers and cannabis industry professionals about the challenges they were experiencing and government responses. Hoping to fill a gap in early discussions of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, we were especially interested in the impact on cannabis industry participants designated as social equity businesses. The results indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic has both introduced tremendous new challenges for the cannabis industry and exacerbated long-standing difficulties for businesses in this arena. If small, minority-owned and social equity businesses are to survive, they need to be treated by the system like any other regular small business venture. While regulations and safeguards are necessary, these businesses need to be able to operate as a true business, rather than a semi-legal venture with no access to loans, banking, insurance, tax relief, and flexible deliverable modes.

Keywords: Cannabis industry, social equity programs, COVID-19 impact on business, small businesses, minority-owned businesses, marijuana legalization and reform

Suggested Citation

Berman, Douglas A. and Hrdinova, Jana and Pauley, Mark and Ridgway, Dexter, Struggling Through the Pandemic: Cannabis Social Equity During COVID-19 (June 16, 2020). Ohio State Public Law Working Paper Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3628533

Douglas A. Berman

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Street
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-688-8690 (Phone)

Jana Hrdinova (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU), Michael E. Moritz College of Law, Students ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Mark Pauley

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

Dexter Ridgway

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
147
Abstract Views
1,203
rank
223,778
PlumX Metrics