By: Carlos Schidlow*, and Nabil Rodriguez, Esq.
After the statewide “stay at home” order in Colorado, marijuana sales were initially limited to medical patients or curbside pick-up only. About a week later, the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (“MED”) issued an
updated Guidance in response to COVID-19 (“Guidance”) in which retail marijuana stores are again allowed to offer in-store sales provided they implement specific social distancing procedures.
The Guidance clarifies that both medical and recreational marijuana stores are “Critical Businesses” and may continue their in-store operations. Similarly, other regulated marijuana businesses such as cultivation, manufacturing, testing, and transportation are also considered Critical Businesses.
The Guidance it is meant to amend and clarify previous orders by stating, “
any previous guidance in [a previous industry bulletin] to the contrary is superseded by [this Guidance].” Furthermore, the Guidance provides that “ patients and consumers may order, purchase, and pick up” marijuana on licensed retail premises, and that licensees are no longer prohibited from allowing retail customers on the licensed premises considering the stores implement social distancing requirements “ in line with state and local orders.”
As for curbside pick-up, the Guidance indicates that transactions outside the licensed premises may only occur for pickup and payment of pre-orders. The Guidance is clear to state that the acceptance of orders or cash-transactions are not permitted outside the licensed premises. Additionally, transactions on public property, transferring unpackaged or unlabeled marijuana, and obstructing traffic are prohibited.
In addition to implementing social distancing requirements as adopted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, marijuana stores are highly encouraged to implement certain practices, including, but not limited to the following:
Limit the number of people inside the Licensed Premises at any one-time (including employees) such that all people are at least six feet apart at all times. Limit the amount of time a patient or consumer can remain on the Licensed Premises. Utilize additional portions of the Licensed Premises, including the lobby, to provide additional space to facilitate social distancing between employees and patients/consumers and between individual employees. Consider modifications to the Licensed Premises to provide additional space or create barriers (e.g. installing “sneeze guards”) to facilitate Social Distancing between employees and patients/consumers and between individual employees. Use online or web-based applications for virtual lines (waitlists). Require advanced appointment scheduling for patients and consumers to pick-up orders. Instruct patients and consumers to arrive only after receiving notification that their order is ready for pick-up. Encourage or require patients and consumers to complete their payments over the telephone or online prior to arrival.
As additional emergency regulatory guidance is released, it may feel as though it has become impossible to comply with these changes from one day to the next. This is where we can help. If you have any questions with regard to adapting your business practices to properly comply with state and local regulations through this pandemic, please contact Greenspoon Marder’s Cannabis Law Group today.
*Carlos Schidlow is not an attorney