Cannabis Businesses Deemed “Essential” During Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis


Governor Newsom mandated the “Stay At Home” order across the state on March 19, 2020, mandating that California state residents remain in their homes, except to fulfill “essential” needs. On March 21, 2020, the State of California announced that medical cannabis businesses are essential businesses that may remain open during the state’s Stay At Home order unless a city or county further restricts business operations. The decision to categorize cannabis companies as “essential” in effect provides a lifeline to cannabis patients who remain in need of medical cannabis by allowing cannabis businesses to keep their doors open.

The entire cannabis supply chain – including all state-licensed cannabis businesses such as retailers, cultivators, distributors, manufacturers and testing labs – also are considered “essential” under the state policy, according to Nicole Elliott, senior adviser on cannabis in Newsom’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Ms. Elliott noted there’s no differentiation between “medical” and “recreational” cannabis companies, which indicates that every licensed cannabis business that chooses to continue operations during the lockdown can stay open.

The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) itself has cautioned that all licensed cannabis businesses will need to adhere to the Center for Disease Control’s interim guidance on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Any cannabis licensee that continues to operate must adopt social distancing and anti-congregating measures, as well as following all CDC guidance at all times.

If you are a dedicated cannabis business owner facing concerns or compliance issues due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), our skilled team of cannabis lawyers at Purdy & Bailey, LLP is here to help you navigate California’s complex and regularly changing cannabis laws in this time of uncertainty.

Ready to speak with one of our experienced cannabis law attorneys? Contact us at (858) 360-7080 to request a courtesy evaluation.

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