Oregon Cannabis and Coronavirus: The New Rules

0 30

oregon cannabis coronavirus covid

On March 23, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed Executive Order No. 20-12 (the “Order”), which mandates that Oregonians stay home and observe social distancing and community mitigation measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Order, in part, expressly prohibits the operation of certain non-essential businesses, such as amusement parks, barber shops and gyms. The Order, however, does not mention cannabis businesses, such as retailers, processors, producers, and wholesalers. This means that these cannabis businesses are authorized to remain open so long as they “designate an employee or officer to establish, implement, and enforce social distancing policies, consistent with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority [“OHA”].”

OHA GUIDANCE

Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) Guidelines, the OHA released guidance to which Oregon employers must adhere to continue their business activities.

In addition to encouraging staff to telework when feasible and implementing social distancing measures, such as increasing physical space between workers at the worksite and staggering work schedules, cannabis employers must:

  1. Be familiar with the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and know what to do if staff becomes symptomatic at the worksite.
  2. Develop workplace plans to account for liberal leave and telework policies, when feasible.
  3. Ensure that health insurance coverage, sick leave and vacation leave accrual are not impacted by hours unable to work due to COVID-19.
  4. Ensure flexible leave policies for staff who need to stay home due to school/childcare dismissals.
  5. Clearly identify essential versus non-essential staff.
  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
  7. Ensure hand hygiene supplies are readily available at the workplace.

This list is by no means exhaustive so cannabis businesses should closely review the OHA and the CDC website for additional guidance:

OLCC RULES

On-Site Delivery and Daily Sales Limits for OMMP

The OHA isn’t the only state agency that issued COVID-19-related guidance.

To promote the social distancing efforts mandated by the Order and make retail sales activity safe for everyone, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (the “OLCC”) issued temporary, relaxed rules for licensed dispensaries. These temporary rules, codified at OAR 845-025-2800 and 845-025-0885, allow OLCC-licensed retailers to provide curbside delivery to their medical and recreational clientele.

Specifically, the loosened restrictions allow:

  1. Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (“OMMP”) cardholders and caregivers to purchase up to 24 ounces of flower per day even though the temporary rules do not change the total monthly amount of 32 ounces currently permitted to purchase from an OLCC-licensed retailer.
  2. OLCC-licensed retailers to take orders and deliver products from the retail store to someone who is located outside of the store and within 150 feet of the retailer’s licensed premises (“on-site” delivery) so long as:
  • The OLCC-licensed retailer (1) checks the purchaser’s ID to verify they are over 21, or over 18 if an OMMP cardholder, and is the person who placed the order, and (2) ensures that the individual is not visibly intoxicated. Note that the signature requirements are temporarily waived; and
  • The on-site delivery is:
    • accompanied by a bona fide order received before the on-site delivery is made. Any order for marijuana products, whether made over the phone, email, website, app or in person, must contain, at minimum:
      • The requestor’s name and date of birth;
      • The date delivery is requested; and
      • A document that describes the marijuana items proposed for delivery and the amounts.
    • made during the retailer’s business hours, namely not earlier than 7 AM and no later than 10 PM; and
    • recorded in CTS as a standard sales receipt but a printed delivery manifest is not required.

Although not mandated, the OLCC strongly recommends that (1) on-site sales take place under camera coverage to protect retailers’ safety and that of others, and (2) that stores be secured while retailers conduct on-site deliveries.

OLCC-licensed retailers must also keep in mind that (1) The temporary rules do not affect any city or county ordinances nor do they change any lease or rental agreements they may have; and (2) it is their responsibility to remain in compliance with all laws and legal agreements.

Last but not least, OLCC-licensed retailers should understand that while the temporary rules have relaxed many of the requirements to which they are subject, the OLCC has made it clear that the rules won’t be permanent and has warned that the rules could be suspended for the entire industry if individual licensees take advantage of the situation by disrupting public safety or public health.

Marijuana Worker Permits

To further support and accommodate the cannabis industry, effective March 18, 2020 through April 30, 2020, the OLCC authorizes employees to work for an OLCC recreational marijuana licensed business if they meet one of the following conditions:

  1. Have an approved and active marijuana worker permit;
  2. Have taken the marijuana worker permit test and submitted their marijuana worker permit application in the NIC/OLCC system prior to working for an OLCC recreational marijuana license business.

OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES

In addition to ensuring compliance with cannabis-related laws and regulations, cannabis companies must also abide by laws that affect all Oregon businesses, such as employment and tax laws. Accordingly, you should closely review the following links that provide additional information and guidance issued by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry (“BOLI”), the Oregon Employment Department and the Oregon Department of Revenue:

BOLI

  1. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, Technical Assistance for Employers
  2. Oregon BOLI COVID-10/Coronavirus in Oregon: Facts about Sick Time
  3. Oregon BOLI Sick Time Law
  4. Oregon BOLI Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA)

Oregon Employment Department

  1. COVID-19 Related Business Layoffs, Closures, and Unemployment Insurance Benefits
  2. COVID-19 Workplace Scenarios and Available Sick Leave/Unemployment Benefits
  3. Temporary Rules for Unemployment Insurance Benefits Flexibility
  4. Work Share Oregon – Helps an employer reduces the hours of work for a group of workers instead of terminating staff.
  5. Oregon Unemployment Insurance Benefits FAQS

Oregon Department of Revenue

  1. Department of Revenue offices switching to appointment only
  2. Marijuana tax program
  3. COVID-19 tax relief options(Filling extension to July 15)
  4. Filing Extensions FAQs

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.