The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on nearly every industry in the global economy. The nascent and volatile cannabis industry was not exempt and, in some jurisdictions, has been impacted significantly due to local or state shelter or stay-at home orders. In most states where adult-use cannabis is legal, local and state governments have deemed cannabis businesses as essential and, thus, are permitted to continue operating notwithstanding local or state shelter orders. However, despite their characterization as essential businesses, many limitations imposed by local or state shelter orders have greatly affected the way cannabis businesses operate. As a result, cannabis businesses have experienced steep declines in their revenues and, in some instances, have left cannabis businesses unable to perform contractual obligations that they entered into pre-pandemic.
In an April 28th letter authored by the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp (ATACH) and the Policy Center for Public Health and Safety, 24 state-level cannabis trade associations from across the country called on Congress to end the Small Business Administration’s exclusion of cannabis businesses from COVID-19 federal funding relief.
A video replay of the webinar “The Impact of COVID-19 on the California Cannabis Market” is available to view.
On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, Seth A. Goldberg, partner and team lead of the Duane Morris Cannabis Industry Group, and Justin M. L. Stern, Duane Morris associate, will present at the webinar, “Cannabis 303: Civil Litigation and COVID-19 Implications for the Cannabis Industry: An Unavoidable Consequence of a Maturing U.S. Cannabis Market.”
Please join the attorneys to review the recent landscape of cannabis-related commercial litigation, discuss the potential impact of COVID-19 on marijuana- and hemp-related civil litigation, and learn best practices for businesses with respect to preparing for, and possibly preventing, potentially resource-draining and almost always disruptive civil litigation matters.
On Friday, April 10, 2020, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Pacific time), Duane Morris will be hosting the webinar, “Cannabis 302: The Impact of COVID-19 on the California Cannabis Market.”
Join Tracy Gallegos and Justin A. Santarosa from our Cannabis Industry Group for a discussion on how California cannabis companies are adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic by way of operational changes, such as increasing curbside and home delivery and seeking alternative sources of revenue, while responding to lease issues in relation to various eviction moratoriums and other matters.
Cannabis operators, like all other businesses, are searching for new ways to reach their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cannabis businesses have been generally treated as “essential” under the various state orders that have otherwise closed businesses and ordered people to stay at home. Even though they have been permitted to operate, it is not business-as-usual for these operators as they grapple with CDC workplace restrictions and guidelines for reducing the spread of COVID-19.
As a result of these restrictions, state regulators and cannabis business have begun implementing new policies and procedures such as curbside pick-up, expanded delivery zones and increased use of contactless payment methods. While these changes are viewed as temporary, if properly implemented, cannabis businesses may be able to show regulators that these expanded policies should continue after the crisis has passed. This difficult time presents an opportunity for cannabis retailers to expand their reach and help bolster support for more online ordering, home delivery and other delivery methods.
To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorneys Justin A. Santarosa, Arletta Bussiere, Joe Pangaro and Justin Stern, which contains a summary of how several states have handled the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to the operations of cannabis businesses during the stay-at-home orders, please visit the Duane Morris Cannabis Industry Blog.
[…] With so many out of work and many more likely joining them in the coming weeks, Americans are looking to Washington D.C. to provide a lifeline. One bill, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), has already been signed into law by President Trump. This provides $1 billion in additional funds for states to direct toward bolstering their unemployment insurance programs.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been working to pass additional relief legislation—but when it comes to the federal government and the cannabis industry, the relationship is not usually cozy. Will those relief funds find their way to cannabis workers who are out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic?
“Given that marijuana remains an unlawful substance under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, there has been concern that the relief under the FFCRA would not be available to cannabis businesses and, therefore, would not be available to support cannabis workers,” Linda Hollinshead, an attorney and Partner at Duane Morris LLP told mg.
“The law provides that any administrative grants transferred to the account of a state may be used ‘by such State only for the administration of its unemployment compensation law,’ suggesting that the money is being provided to support a state’s program, and that the federal government will not dictate how it is spent or what industries will be recipients of those grants,” Hollinshead said. “As a result, it does not appear that the additional availability of these federal funds under the FFCRA jeopardizes an individual’s ability to have access to state unemployment benefits.”
To read the full article, visit the mg Magazine website.