In this series of posts, we share information about the various relief opportunities that may be available for cannabis businesses experiencing financial woes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including federal stimulus relief, general business dispute resolution methods, and potential insurance claims and also share a few options specific to Texas and Louisiana, and more. It is important to note that additional guidance is being published frequently that could alter the information presented here and it is highly recommended you seek assistance from experienced legal and accounting professionals to advise you as to whether and how these may apply to your particular circumstances.
In Part II, we explore the current status of cannabis business opportunities specific to Louisiana.
Medical Marijuana is Essential: Governor John Bel Edwards issued a Stay-At-Home Order which has been extended through April 30, 2020. The Order requires closure of certain non-essential businesses, but permits critical infrastructure businesses to remain open that are consistent with guidance from the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), provided that they must operate in a manner designed to facilitate only minimal contact among the public and essential employees. Healthcare businesses are permitted to operate; accordingly, Louisiana’s licensed medical marijuana pharmacies and their suppliers may remain open. Examples of other Louisiana businesses permitted to remain open can be found here.
Hemp Applications: The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry is still processing applications and issuing industrial hemp licenses. Although LDAF at this time is not able to accept applications in person, it is still receiving them via U.S. mail or courier service.
Small Business Assistance: Louisiana offers the new Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program for small businesses domiciled in the state that employ less than 100 employees and have been impacted by COVID-19, including farmers, fishermen and main street businesses, e.g., restaurants. The maximum loan amount is $100,000, and the Louisiana Department of Economic Development will guarantee a portion of each participating bank’s loan. Supply chain participants from growers to retailers in both the Hemp/CBD and medical marijuana industries appear to be eligible. Applications are currently being accepted through April 30, 2020.
Court Statuses: Louisiana courts have issued various orders in response to the pandemic, including temporarily continuing all jury trials, both civil and criminal, and all civil proceedings, other than certain family and emergency matters. Essential state court functions shall be conducted via teleconference whenever possible. The Louisiana Supreme Court’s website maintains a list of court orders and announcements issued by each civil district court, court of appeal, and the Louisiana Supreme Court.