Denver health officials have refused to give the owner of a local head shop a free package of personal protective equipment (PPE) just because the store sells legal CBD products.
As part of a nationwide relief program to help small businesses survive the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Denver received 4,500 PPE kits including disinfectant, thermometers, hand sanitizer, and surgical masks. City officials are redistributing these packages to small businesses that have been hit hard by the virus and associated quarantine measures.
Damon Miller, owner of the Meadowlark 64 head shop, was one of many small business owners to apply for one of these packages. Miller's application was denied, however, because his store sells legal CBD products. The city claims that they cannot offer federally-funded assistance to businesses that handle cannabis – and that apparently includes legal hemp products.
“A business such as myself that does not dispense THC, but we do happen to dispense CBD,” Miller told local news outlet KDVR, has been “denied our PPE package just because of those parameters, apparently.” Miller added that he has seen his business drop by 20 percent since the pandemic began, and was hoping that free PPE would help encourage more customers to visit the store.
“A customer is a customer, a life is a life, and in this day and age, anything we can do to help those folks out while they’re navigating this uncertain time, you know, that’s what we were expecting to get from the City of Denver,” Miller said.
“We can’t use federal dollars to support certain industries, sadly,” explained Susan Liehe, marketing director for the city's Office of Economic Development and Opportunity, to KDVR. “For folks who are in the cannabis industry, the fact that they are caught sideways between local and federal governments is not exactly news, right? This is by no means the first time they’ve heard this and regrettably probably not the last.”
It is indeed a well-established fact that the federal prohibition of cannabis imposes serious limitations on state-legal weed businesses. Any business that handles weed is prohibited from opening a bank account, getting a bank loan, or receiving any form of government assistance. People have even been denied home loans or insurance due to their involvement in the cannabis industry.
None of these prohibitions should really even apply to businesses dealing in hemp or CBD, though, because the 2018 Farm Bill explicitly legalizes the sale of hemp and all of its byproducts, including CBD. But regardless, many hemp and CBD businesses and users still experience discrimination. Pretty much every federal agency and military service bans its members from using CBD, customs officials at the Dallas airport have been seizing legal CBD products from travelers, and cops still pull people over for transporting legal hemp.