Murchison & Cumming LLP

California Cannabis Businesses Qualify as "Essential Critical Businesses" in Midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

March 27, 2020

By: Kelly Hayes

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a Statewide Order requiring all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence, except as is required to maintain operations of essential critical businesses.

To assist in identifying what qualifies as an "essential critical business", the State Public Health Officer provided guidance that lists industry sectors and businesses that qualify as "Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers".

This guidance identifies and classifies California's Cannabis Businesses as part of the "essential critical infrastructure."

In addition, all three of California's Cannabis Licensing Agencies issued advisories and press releases this past weekend stating:

"The [Governor's Executive] Order identifies certain services as essential, including food, prescriptions, and healthcare. These services can continue despite the stay-at-home order. Because cannabis is an essential medicine for many residents, cannabis licensees may continue to operate, as long as your operations comply with local rules and regulations."

According to the guidance provided by California's Cannabis Licensing Agencies, any Cannabis Licensee that continues to operate must adopt social distancing and anti-congregating measures and must follow the CDC's Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers".

The Governor's Order, further Guidance, and additional information for businesses is provided on California's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response website.

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