Over the past four days, Colorado Governor Polis signed several executive orders that affect the cannabis industry, and the MED has enacted emergency rules and new guidelines for dealing with the COVID-19/coronavirus crisis and the governor’s orders. The sum impact of these measures is summarized here:
- The governor ordered all Colorado businesses (with certain exemptions for critical businesses) to reduce their in person work force by 50% starting Tuesday and continuing until April 10, 2020. This order directs all employers to implement tele-work options to the greatest extent possible. If tele-work is not practical or possible, employers are encouraged to stagger work schedules to reduce the proximity of employees during work hours and to keep employees on payroll. The order does not apply to any employer that can certify that employees are no closer than six feet from one another during any part of their work hours.
- The MED emergency rules, allow for temporary modifications of premises without pre-approval from the state.
- Both retail and medical stores can take and complete orders by phone or over the internet, with customers picking up orders in the parking lot under the control of the licensee. Retail marijuana stores can only do transactions curbside and are no longer allowed to conduct in-store sales. Medical stores can do sales curbside or in the licensed premises. Cash payments are allowed curbside, but the MED encourages licensees to maximize online non-cash orders.
- There are specific rules related to checking IDs and taking payment electronically, which include the licensee’s employee viewing a valid digital registry card and proof of identification.
- Every sale requires the video recording of the transaction, even at curbside, including identification of the transaction, the consumer, and the consumer’s vehicle, if done curbside.
- Testing labs may utilize adjacent properties to the licensed premises to allow for social distancing.
- Licensees do not need approval from their local regulators to implement these changes. However, if local governments already prohibit curbside service or online transactions, those prohibitions remain in effect.
- The MED has warned licensees not to take advantage of or abuse these temporary privileges.
- All licensees must comply with all of the governor’s orders and any applicable health order of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Information about CDPHE’s public health orders and related information can be found here.
Guidance from MED concerning the emergency rules and the governor’s orders is found here. Contact us if you have any questions about this development or any other issue related to the industry response to this pandemic.
The McAllister Garfield, P.C. team