The Monterey County Health Officer approved the implementation of new guidance and opening of more business sectors on June 12, 2020, as recommended by the California Governor. Because cannabis is an essential medicine for many residents, licensees have been allowed to continue operating since the March Shelter-In-Place was put into effect.
MCCIA continues to monitor these changes. Below you will find more information on COVID-19 guidelines as it pertains to the cannabis industry in Monterey County.
Industry Guidance for Cannabis Cultivation and Dispensaries (Monterey County Farm Bureau)
Face Covering Protocol and Order (Monterey County Health Officer)
Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements for Re-Opening (Departments of Industrial Relations)
COVID-19 Updates for Cannabis Manufacturers (Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch)
COVID-19 Updates for Cannabis Cultivators (CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing)
Retail & Delivery COVID-19 Safety Protocols (California Cannabis)
During these trying times, businesses, government agencies, and residents are having to adapt to new measures and precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Bureau recognizes the critical need to be flexible in confronting the virus. Following are instructions for requesting disaster relief during the COVID-19 pandemic from the BCC.
Bureau licensees who are unable to comply with specific regulatory requirements may request relief from specific licensing requirements pursuant to section 5038 of the Bureau's regulations.
Requests for disaster relief should be submitted using the Notification and Request Form, (BCC-LIC-027), and may be submitted to the Bureau at BCC@dca.ca.gov. Requests for disaster relief must be submitted by an Owner or Primary Contact for the license. Requests should include the licensee's name, the license number, the specific regulatory requirements the licensee is seeking relief for, why the relief is needed, and a detailed description of how the licensee plans to conduct their operations if the relief is granted.
Licensees must obtain approval from the Bureau to be relieved of specific licensing requirements before changing operations. Requests for disaster relief will be reviewed by the Bureau's staff in a timely manner and responses to requests received will be provided via email. Temporary relief for specific licensing requirements may be issued for a specified amount of time. The Bureau may require that certain conditions be followed for the relief to be granted. Any questions regarding disaster relief requests may be submitted to BCC@dca.ca.gov.
California is providing broad assistance to small businesses and employers impacted by COVID-19. The State of California has also set up COVID-19 Response Page to specifically aid businesses and employers - you can visit that page by clicking here. The following is assistance programs set up through the state:
12-month Payment Plans
Small business taxpayers, those with less than $5 million in taxable annual sales, can take advantage of a 12-month, interest-free, payment plan for up to $50,000 of sales and use tax liability. Payment plan requests can be made by clicking here in the coming months.
90 Day Extensions
All taxpayers who file a return less than $1 Million dollars will have an additional 3 months to file their return, between now and July 31, 2020. If you qualify for this extension it is automatic and you do not need to apply. Click here to learn more and see if you qualify.
California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program
Small Businesses located in California with 1-750 employees that have been negatively impacted or experienced disruption by COVID-19 can apply for the California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, providing potential capital for individuals who do not qualify for federal funds.
Following Governor Newsom's shelter in place order, NORML released an article detailing what is necessary to know throughout this pandemic, as related to the cannabis industry. You can read the full article here, or see below for the highlights:
State-level unemployment insurance will continue to provide benefits to laid-off cannabis workers: Workers who were employed by a licensed cannabis business that properly paid their unemployment insurance taxes should be protected and eligible to receive benefits.
Federal dollars are going to support state programs — not to dictate how they must use the money: Legislation recently passed by Congress, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, includes nearly a billion dollars in funding to aid state-administered unemployment insurance programs. After speaking with several experts, It is NORML’s understanding that the transfer of these funds from the federal government to the state governments provides the individual states with the authority to decide for themselves which industries are legally eligible to receive benefits.
Cannabis businesses are not yet eligible for Federal Small Business Administration disaster relief aid: By contrast, state-licensed cannabis businesses will not be eligible for either financial assistance or low-interest loans under newly enacted federal legislation instructing the Small Business Administration to “provide capital and liquidity to firms affected by the coronavirus.” However, the Small Business Administration is currently prohibited from allowing state-legal cannabis companies access to any of its services. This policy was just reiterated by the agency: “Because federal law prohibits the sale and distribution of cannabis, the SBA does not provide financial assistance to businesses that are illegal under federal law,” Carol Chastang, SBA public affairs specialist, told the publication Cannabis Business Times. “Businesses that aren’t eligible include marijuana growers and dispensers, businesses that sell cannabis products, etc., even if the business is legal under local or state law.”