Coronavirus & Cannabis Retail

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 and is filed under Uncategorized.

We have entered uncertain times given the recent Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) outbreak and temporary restrictions for the City of Los Angeles.  We understand that you may have questions on the impact of this uncertainty on your cannabis retail dispensary. We are here to help support you.

BCC GUIDANCE

We are dedicated to helping our cannabis retail clients during this troubling time and have taken proactive measures to contact the Bureau of Cannabis Control (“BCC”) with concerns.  High on our list of concerns is making sure that the cannabis industry can continue in operation.  

The BCC has informed us that in light of recent developments related to COVID-19, the BCC is preparing to issue guidance to licensed retailers. We anticipate an announcement to be released soon and will update this article with current information.

THE PROBLEM: NO CURBSIDE PICKUP

(Section 5025(c)(3))

BCC Regulation Section 5025(c)(3) provides that “no cannabis goods shall be sold and/or delivered by any means or method to any person within a motor vehicle.”  Generally speaking, this restriction disallows curbside pick-up. 

Nevertheless, we have inquired with the BCC as to whether curbside pick-up may be permitted for customers who seek to avoid the retail premises or may not be comfortable with having a delivery amidst the virus.  Curbside pick-up is NOT allowed under Section 5025(c)(3).

THE SOLUTION: CASE BY CASE DISASTER RELIEF (Section 5038)

Section 5038 empowers the BCC to provide temporary relief from specific regulatory requirements, including the restriction against curbside delivery.   Temporary relief is subject to discretion and granted where a retail dispensary is unable to comply with the licensing requirements due to disaster.

We believe COVID-19 constitutes a disaster and can be used to invoke Section 5038.  We are prepared to assist you in invoking Section 5038, and we have received approvals from the BCC.  To participate you must make a written request for relief, addressed to the BCC, and submitted by your dispensary’s primary contact. Please let us know if you need assistance.


LABOR LAWS

We understand that disasters like this are not common and that many businesses are not prepared for the employment-related issues that may arise from this situation. If you have any questions regarding employee sick leave, paid time off, or any employment-related question in light of the circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us.

SANITIZING & CLEANLINESS

Please ensure that your premises is thoroughly sanitized and disinfected as much as possible, including door handles, countertops, sample jars, POS terminals, credit/debit card terminals, and ATM machines. For the safety of customers and employees, receptionists and budtenders should consider wearing gloves when interacting with customers (handling IDs, credit/debit cards, cash, sample jars, and cannabis goods). Additionally, hand-sanitizing stations throughout the premises promotes safe sanitizing practices amongst employees and customers.

REDUCE OCCUPANCY

In efforts to practice social distancing, retailers should reduce occupancy by nearly half, if reasonable. The standing recommendation is to keep social groups to less than ten (10) people.

Our office, attorneys, and staff are continuing to work during the crisis and are available to field your questions.  Much of our team is working remotely in order to curb the risk of infection but is digitally connected to minimize disruption. 

By GianDominic Vitiello, March 17, 2020