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New Safety Measures & Resources for Cannabis Businesses Regarding COVID-19 Response

by Roger Tower on April 15, 2020
New Safety Measures & Resources for Cannabis Businesses Regarding COVID-19 Response

During the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses have been ordered to shut down temporarily in efforts to stop the spread of the virus. 

Governor Newsom issued a stay-at-home order last month due to the rising number of cases in California. Cannabis businesses have been considered essential and are still allowed to operate during these critical times. 

It’s important to consider that staying open during this pandemic comes with many new risks as well as responsibilities, especially for cannabis retailers who face the public on a daily basis. 

Taking Safety Measures For Cannabis Retailers

Keeping employees and customers safe should be the number one priority for cannabis retailers who are remaining open. 

The CDC has provided guidance for businesses and employers to plan, prepare, and respond to coronavirus while maintaining operations. 

Cannabis businesses, especially storefront retailers should follow these guidelines closely in order to protect the health and safety of employees as well as customers. 

The three main goals of the CDC guidance is to reduce transmission among employees, maintain healthy business operations, and maintain a healthy work environment. 

Consider increasing the physical space between employees and between customers and employees. Clean and disinfect surfaces and avoid sharing items such as phones, keyboards, and other tools whenever possible. 

Avoid large gatherings by controlling how many people are allowed inside the facility at any given time and disinfect doors and door handles often. 

By taking these necessary steps, you are not only complying with the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), but you are keeping your employees and customers safe and reducing possible risks.

Expected Downsizing 

With most people staying home during this time, sales are expected to experience a decline, which means your cannabis business might have to cut down on how many employees remain working.

Asses what essential functions are needed for your business to remain open. If you are downsizing operations it’s important to follow existing state and federal workplace laws by visiting the Department of Labor’s and The Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions’ websites. 

Be careful not to be discriminatory when conducting layoffs. Document any changes made during downsizing.

Understand what your obligations as an employer are. The new Families First Coronavirus Response Act, requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded medical leave for specific reasons related to coronavirus. 

Consult with an employment lawyer in order to avoid any possible future employee claims. 

Licensing Deadlines and Tax Extensions

A new executive order signed by Governor Newsom extends licensing deadlines and provides an extension for state and local taxes. 

The executive order allows the California Tax and Fee Administration to provide all businesses filing a return for less than $1 million in taxes a 90-day extension. 

This pushes first-quarter tax return filings to end of July for small businesses. 

In addition, local permits and state cannabis licensing procedures might be delayed. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions regarding the current state of cannabis licensing in California.  


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