As Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc on the U.S. economy, the Small Business Association (SBA) is offering a welcome solution. Small businesses, classified as U.S. business owners employing fewer than 500 people, sole proprietors, and independent contractors, can thankfully apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. While a wide array of business owners can expect relief, the loan uses language that pointedly leaves out people who work in the sex or cannabis industry. These businesses are legally operating in the United States, subject to the same taxes as other business owners, and help to stimulate the economy. So why can’t they receive aid? What makes them less worthy of help than their counterparts?
For the answers to these frustrating questions, we decided to ask an expert. As a sex worker, a fetish trainer, and an advocate for safe cannabis use, Jasmine of JetSettingJasmine.com can personally attest to the unfairness of this measure. She has been gracious enough to lend us her insights.
HONEY POT: What is your relationship with Cannabis and CBD? You’ve talked about using CBD products to reduce sexual anxiety. Can you elaborate on that?
JASMINE: As a young person, I certainly engaged in cannabis for recreation. But as I have matured and learned more about the plant, I am more inclined to be attracted to the plant for its therapeutic properties. I’ve also learned ways to utilize it concerning my work as a fetish trainer, a sex educator, and a psychotherapist. I have used CBD as an option for my clients [as] a way of treating anxiety, depression and chronic illness. I have to be incredibly mindful of the legalities according to what state or country the client is in and have to consider their access to the appropriate guidance on selecting a product that works best for them/their particular need. I have worked with clients using CBD products such as massage oils or even infused lube… [Using] something like a CBD massage oil, just doing the massage itself, is relaxing the body, extending foreplay, and creating a connection between partners. I am interested in how we can further help our clients select products that are the best fit for what they need [and] in them using proper dosing.
HONEY POT: Like those working in the cannabis space, sex workers are unable to apply for emergency aid, loans and funding during COVID_19. How has this impacted you and what parallels do you see in terms of stigma and overall?
JASMINE: I have some really strong feelings about this. Professionals in the sex industry adhere to legal businesss practices and pay taxes. We stimulate the economy by spending, and also by having products that people can consume. So when I think about things such as the emergency aid loans and funding and stimulus packages being allocated to citizens [who] are taxpayers, but are not sex workers or cannabis professionals, it does show how policymakers and decision-makers in this country value us as citizens. While I can understand how recreation can be considered as non-essential, the workers themselves have the same needs and rights as their neighbors. We are in a worldwide crisis; yet certain policies are written in a way that suggests that people who work in these spaces do not require or deserve the same level of protection, aid, and resources.
So my tax dollars are equal, but my needs as a human aren’t? This is incredibly frustrating. Sex workers specifically have been incorrectly painted as people who make money underhandedly, who don’t pay taxes, or don’t operate from the same professional standards as other businesses. This is not true, but policies like this perpetuate this type of stigma. I am a taxpaying citizen, but I cannot see my tax dollars benefit my business or my family in a crisis. I feel especially strongly for those of us who run legitimate businesses on all fronts in the cannabis, CBD, and sex work industries. Our businesses, who pour into our communities financially, are struggling right now and yet are unable to receive the same level of support as our counterparts.
HONEY POT: As a mother, how do you approach cannabis and CBD for yourself and your children?
JASMINE: The conversation around cannabis specifically has changed in my household as cannabis has become increasingly more legal throughout the country. I have never felt that cannabis was a bad thing, but have always held a stance around the importance of decision making surrounding the use of mood altering substances. I think it is important as parents that we don’t just throw the words “illegal” and “bad” together like they mean the same thing. We have to discuss substances in the context of personal, professional and societal consequences. My children are growing up in a culture where abusing [legal] over-the-counter medication is common enough to raise concern. I make sure they know that the legality of the substance doesn’t necessarily make it safe or unsafe. We talk about how CBD and THC use has had an impact from both the beneficial aspect to the intended and unintended consequences. My stance has always been that you do not do anything with consequences that you cannot get yourself out of and begin exploration with a conversation with us [parents]. We’ve been successful with this to date and it is because we feel comfortable operating in the grey area.
We support the use of CBD and from a health and wellness perspective. We do essential oils and CBD rubs first, and then graduate to things like a tincture of CBD. Our attitude is always the least to most intrusive aide, not the other way around.
It is my conviction that you make sure that your family’s needs are met before you enter an altered state. Make sure that you can manage any risk or consequences that are associated with the use of cannabis or CBD. By no means am I in a position to tell people what they should and should not do with their body. However, I feel that I can support people in making the safest decision around altering their mood state if that’s what they choose to do. Safety first. It’s so important when we talk about the use of CBD and of cannabis that we don’t forget about the risks and consequences that can occur in families without neglecting the benefits that come when we have aides like CBD and THC to treat chronic physical and mental illnesses.
Twitter : @jetsetjasmine