By Kathleen Patchel* and Nabil Rodriguez
On April 2, 2020 the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) released finalized emergency rules for Regulated Marijuana Businesses that expand on the guidelines given March 30, 2020.
Previously, Regulated Marijuana Businesses were only “highly encouraged” to implement social distancing procedures. Now, all Regulated Marijuana Businesses are REQUIRED to comply with guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as well as any applicable local health department. These procedures include but are not limited to:
Maintaining a six-foot distance from other individuals, Washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, Covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), Regularly clean high-touch surfaces, and Refraining from shaking hands.
All Retail and Medical Marijuana Stores are now REQUIRED to ensure social distancing between patients, consumers, and employees. Social distancing measures may include, but are 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.
Retail and Medical Stores may take orders and complete payment for pick-up over the phone or internet. Previously only Medical Stores were permitted to complete payment over the phone or internet. Pick-up may be conducted outside of the Restricted Access Area so long as the pick-up area is adjacent to the License Premises and not on public property. Accepting orders or cash payments outside of the Restricted Access Area is still prohibited. Sales conducted inside of the Restricted Access Area are still permitted, subject to social distancing procedures.
BE ADVISED that failure to comply with rules regarding transactions outside the Restricted Access Area or social distancing requirements may result in a Violation Affecting Public Safety, which may result in a fine, suspension, summary suspension, and/or revocation of a Licensee’s Owner License and Regulated Marijuana Business License.
Limited Gaming Support and Key Licensees are now permitted to work in Regulated Marijuana Businesses for the duration of the emergency rules. To qualify, the gaming licensee must have been a resident of Colorado as of March 25, 2020 and not change residency while employed. The rules require that those working under this exception are closely supervised, prohibited from accessing the businesses inventory tracking system, and carrying their badge at all times. The rules also require that the licensee being hired as well as the employer send a notification email to the MED within ten days of the licensee staring employment.
Business and Owner License renewal deadlines have been extended thirty (30) days. All license renewals due March 25, 2020 – April 24, 2020 qualify for the extended deadline. In addition, fingerprinting for Owner Licensees has been suspended. Employee licenses are not included in these exceptions.
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.
*Kathleen Patchel is not an attorney