As of today – June 15, 2021 – the Commonwealth’s State of Emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic has ended. Although the Cannabis Control Commission (“Commission”) has issued bulletins and administrative orders that temporarily extend telehealth, virtual community outreach meeting and curbside operations protocols until September 1, 2021, the balance of the Commission’s COVID-19 related protocols have expired. This may have important implications for Marijuana Establishment Licensees.
For example, although the Commission may have forgiven Licensees that failed to satisfy their Diversity Plan or Positive Impact Plan commitments during the past year, we expect that the Commission may more closely scrutinize compliance with such plans in future license renewal applications. Relatedly, to the extent that Licensees committed in their license renewal applications to take certain actions (e.g., host a job fair or perform certain volunteer/community service activities) following the end of the State of Emergency, they should now begin to take those actions. In addition, in light of the end of the State of Emergency and the Commission’s recent adoption of an out-of-state fingerprinting process, the Commission may soon revise or rescind its policy of routinely granting waivers to individuals who are unable to complete required fingerprinting.
Please also note that the Governor’s COVID-19 Executive Order 42 tolled the lapsing/expiration of permits and approvals issued by state permitting agencies during the State of Emergency. Because the State of Emergency has now ended, the expiration date/deadline for a state permit should be calculated as follows: determine how many days remained as of March 10, 2020 until the expiration or deadline, and that same number of days will remain as of today, June 15, 2021. Chapter 53 of the Acts of 2020 established a similar tolling regime for the lapsing/expiration of local permits and approvals. Licensees should therefore ensure that all state and local permits and approvals are timely renewed.