When Lisa Capitani decided to start a small business to educate and guide medical cannabis patients, she knew she would need some advice. So Capitani, a nurse who lives in Newtown, turned to other nurses across the country who have cannabis-related businesses, and she applied for a mentor through SCORE, a nonprofit that provides free mentorship and advice to people looking to launch businesses.
Her application was recently denied because the program is funded through a U.S. Small Business Administration grant, and cannabis use is illegal at the federal level. Capitani’s experience represents just one of many extra hurdles that often hobble cannabis-related businesses before they get started.
Cannabis-related businesses often struggle to get start-up loans. They are denied assistance programs, nor can they take the same tax deductions as other businesses. These barriers tend to stem from the same issue: State legislation contradicts federal law regarding the legality of cannabis.
“There are enough challenges with trying to get into this new semi-regulated cluster mess of a business that it would be helpful if the state offered some kind of access to the kinds of services other businesses have access to,” Capitani said.
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