ISSUE 150 | March 30, 2022
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
Small business struggle to access medical marijuana industry
Approximately 83 percent of private multistate and publicly traded firms currently control Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana sector.

Various fees and the cost of capital are not the only barriers to entry.

The cap on licenses further limit the ability of small businesses to gain foothold in the market. 

Efforts to impose patient limits yield broad support – but not from committee leadership
A bill that would impose limits to the number of patients per nurse has gained bi-partisan support, but has not moved out of committee.

The chair has indicated that hospital leadership and nurses should make such decisions, and committees have power to halt progress on bills despite having enough votes to pass.

The bill provides a framework with a maximum ratio and the ability for nurses to refuse assignments they believe are beyond their necessary knowledge.  

Lehigh Valley housing costs negatively impact the most vulnerable 
High costs, limited supplies, and required credit scores contribute to the difficulties people with low incomes face when seeking housing.

These factors now affect a larger number of Lehigh Valley residents than they did just 1-2 years ago.

Apartments with rents of $1,000 per month at that time are now available for $1,800 to $2,000. 

Research Spotlight!
Interested in learning more about the state of housing in Northeastern Pennsylvania? The Institute's Housing Task Force has it covered! Use to link to access relevant studies that span a decade.
From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
Housing community helps people transition from foster care to independence
An affordable 15-unit apartment building in Minneapolis offers space to individuals aged 18 to 32 years.

The younger residents are exiting the foster care system, and the others are working adults with low incomes who may act as role models for their neighbors.

A case manager is available on-site, with 24-hour staffing and education programs offered.

Program allows use of food benefits in restaurants 
Restaurant Meals is a program allowing eligible individuals to use food benefits at low-cost, state-certified restaurants (often chains such as Subway and McDonald’s).

To enroll, states must demonstrate to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that residents in three target populations – adults over 60 years old, people with disabilities, and individuals who are homeless – aren’t well-served by traditional food benefits.

Arizona, California, Maryland, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Virginia currently participate. 

Baltimore again considers home giveaways to battle blight 
To revitalize neighborhoods in the 1970s, Baltimore sold homes for $1 under the conditions that buyers would repair and reside in the homes.

Some council members want to repeat the effort with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds in order to remove 15,000 homes from the blighted, vacant property list.

They are even considering fund to help with repair costs, though there is opposition to the bill.

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