A Covid-19 Legal Checklist for California Cannabis Businesses


A Covid-19 Legal Checklist for California Cannabis Businesses

February 13, 2020

COVID-19 Legal Checklist for California Cannabis Businesses

Life around the world has been essentially placed on pause for everyone. Weddings, concerts, and events have been cancelled. Schools, businesses, and churches have been closed. It’s something that no one could have ever imagined. Yet, here we are.

COVID-19 roared in like a storm and flipped life on its head. The uncertainty carries on and we don’t really know when it's going to end. Instead of hunkering down in fear, we’re having to learn life on new terms. Essential businesses are able to operate, however, their operations have to look a lot different than they used to.

Fortunately, in California, cannabis companies have been deemed an essential business. They are able to remain open and operate, being a support and service to their communities in these trying times.


However, the question remains; how do cannabis companies operate under the current COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions? How do they continue serving the community while ensuring that they are following the legal orders and regulations that are in place during COVID-19 orders?


If you’re running a cannabis business inCalifornia during COVID-19, this checklist is for you. We want to make sure you understand the ins and outs of your current operating regulations so that you can keep running while ensuring the health and safety of your community and business.

Understand Your Local Regulations

While California considers cannabis an essential business, each county and local community has the authority to set their own regulations and restrictions, as long as they follow the overall shelter-at-home order. That means that your local restrictions may be greater than the broader California restrictions.


While your community cannot prevent your business from operating, they can place restrictions on you that you need to follow. Make sure you look into your local orders to see if your county is requiring that you follow more regulations in order to operate.

Ensure the Safety of Your Employees and Your Customers

Every essential or exempt business that is continuing to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic is following new protocols to ensure the safety of customers and employees. Cannabis businesses tend to be used to excessive processes and policies due to the nature of the business, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to learn new safety measures.


In California, it is required for cannabis businesses to constantly follow the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses toPlan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease. Familiarize yourself with the guidelines within in order to effectively follow them and provide an environment of optimal health for you, your employees, and your customers.


Cannabis retailers can gain permission from their local authorities to offer curbside pickup for their customers. Keep in mind health and safety guidelines in order to ensure the safety of all involved in these dealings.

Understand Exemptions and Tax Filings

During this time, it can be difficult to keep basic, yet essential, matters such as tax filings and exemptions, in mind.However, it is important that you don’t let them slide. The last thing you’ll want at the end of all this is to have forgotten necessities piled up.


2019’s tax filings have been extended until July 15, 2020, which should give you plenty of time to take care of these matters if you haven’t already. You might also want to talk with a tax professional that understands the new tax guidelines for small businesses.


The California Department of Tax and FeeAdministration is able to help any taxpayers who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. This assistance includes return and payment extensions, filing claims for refunds, as well as relief from any penalties or interest incurred.

Consider Each Contract


As a cannabis business, you are likely to have a number of contracts and obligations. While it is important to meet your obligations to the best of your ability, there may be some obligations that you are unable to meet due to circumstances from COVID-19.


You will need to review each contract to determine whether or not there is a provision included for emergency situations. If there is, you’ll have a guideline to follow in the way you handle your inability to fulfill your obligations.


If your contract does not include wording for emergencies, make sure you have open communication with your partners in order to make the best choices for both parties.


Don’t forget about these important new realities:

  1. Understand that there will be delays in obtaining any pending licenses or permits.
  2. Review your insurance policies to learn about any potential losses that could be     covered.
  3. Consider any upcoming events, hearings, or deadlines that may be postponed. You’ll need     to plan accordingly to ensure that you have everything you need to operate properly.


It’s a difficult time for everyone, yet together we will get through it. Keep laws and regulations in mind as you continue to serve your community. The other side is just around the corner.

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A Covid-19 Legal Checklist for California Cannabis Businesses

It’s a difficult time for everyone, yet together we will get through it. Keep laws and regulations in mind as you continue to serve your community. The other side is just around the corner.

Thursday, February 13, 2020