This week, we cover a new study on the legal cannabis industry’s impact on the housing prices, the status of cannabis companies related to the SBA’s disaster assistance program, and a pot package snafu within the United States Postal Service. 

As always, we will also provide updates on legalization developments at the state level. 

Also, to keep you informed on the ongoing pandemic, we will provide recent news regarding the spread of COVID-19. 

Study Reveals Cannabis Legalization Has Positive Impact On Housing Prices

The introduction of dispensaries has a positive impact on pricing for nearby housing, according to researchers at the University of Oklahoma. According to the researchers, cannabis legalization has a “beneficial spillover effect” at both a local and state level. 

In the study, researchers examined housing prices across the country, comparing them with those in Washington and Colorado. They discovered that the introduction of cannabis legalization can raise housing prices by as much as 7 percent.

Legalization tends to introduce new jobs and decrease arrest rates, two factors that tend to raise property values. Although legalization had a positive impact on pricing for all housing types, the effect on expensive housing was more significant.

Cannabis Companies Excluded From SBA’s COVID-19 Relief Package

In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Small Business Bureau announced a $50 billion assistance program. As part of the program, small businesses can apply for a low-interest loan for up to $2 million. 

This was welcome news for businesses across the country who currently face negative impacts from the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, state-legal cannabis companies will not be eligible to receive this type of aid. 

According to an SBA PA specialist, aid will be withheld because “federal law prohibits the sale and distribution of cannabis.” 

“Businesses that aren’t eligible include marijuana growers and dispensers, businesses that sell cannabis products, etc., even if the business is legal under local or state law,” they said. 

This issue is not one unique to the US, however. In Canada, cannabis companies are feeling the same type of exclusion from country-wide relief packages. 

Audit Reveals USPS Lost Nearly 200 Packages Suspected To Contain Federally Banned Cannabis

Thousands of Americans continue to send packages containing federally illegal cannabis through the USPS. In fact, the USPS confiscated nearly 16,000 cannabis shipments in the year 2019. 

However, a recent audit done by the USPS revealed that a great deal of those packages are currently unaccounted for. Just under 200 packages were either lost or stolen, according to the USPS Inspect General. 

General negligence is likely to blame, but an inability to mask the pungent smell is believed to be a factor. The USPS believes that the smell makes it easy for postal employees to spot and steal the packages. 

98 percent of the lost or stolen packages were sent with express or priority shipping, rather than more secure methods. 

Continued Coverage Of State-Level Cannabis Decriminalization and Legalization Developments

In past months, the spread of cannabis decriminalization and legalization progress throughout the United States has been at a fever pitch. This week, several states took new steps towards cannabis legalization. 

  • In Maryland, a bill that will make over 200,000 cannabis convictions unviewable in public databases passed the state legislature. The bill will now head to Governor Larry Hogan’s desk, where odds of receiving a signature are under speculation. 
  • A New York lawmaker believes that Coronavirus is putting the odds of legalization in the state at risk. The spreading pandemic makes the state’s upcoming budget an urgent matter, which may result in the exclusion of legalization measures. 
  • A Colorado company received the first cannabis delivery permit in the state. As COVID-19 continues to keep people home, dispensaries around the country are looking for leeway regarding typical delivery restrictions. 
  • A top Baltimore prosecutor is hoping to suspend pending charges for drug possession while Maryland battles COVID-19. State Attorney Marilyn Mosby believes that reducing incarceration during the Coronavirus pandemic will help fight the disease’s spread. 

Coronavirus Updates In The United States

As COVID-19 continues its spread throughout the US, we will provide you with updates to keep you up to speed. We will continue to include these updates at the end of This Week In Weed until further notice. 

Confirmed COVID-19 CASES In United States (As Of March, 22): 33,889

Confirmed COVID-19 DEATHS In United States (As Of March, 22): 428

  • The 2020 Olympics appear to be in danger, as Canada states it will not send athletes to Tokyo. Australia announced it is planning for postponement of the games, something that Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe acknowledged as a possibility. 
  • US Coronavirus cases continue to rise, with experts stating that the best-case scenario continues to worsen. 
  • Senate Democrats blocked a trillion-dollar relief bill, criticizing it for placing too much emphasis on relief for US corporations. As a result, Republicans, who are under pressure to support aid-providing legislation, back to the bargaining table. 
  • Donald Trump ordered the National Guard to assist Washington, New York, and California in their Coronavirus containment efforts. 
  • Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was the first US senator to test positive for Coronavirus. Some US senators stated they will self-quarantine due to recent contact with Sen. Paul. 
  • The US stock market quickly tanked as premarket trading began at 6 pm Sunday.
  • New York continues to receive the brunt of COVID-19’s damage in the US, accounting for 5% of all cases worldwide. Governor Cuomo stated on Sunday that up to 80% of New York’s population may catch the virus.

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