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Coronavirus and Cannabis: Nevada Regulatory Updates

By Kelsey Middleton

May 7, 2020

This VS Insight is dedicated to updates regarding the coronavirus and cannabis in Nevada. For updates on other states or coronavirus-related issues, see our main post on the subject, "Coronavirus and Cannabis: Monitoring the Impact."

Cannabis regulations are in flux across the U.S. as officials at every level of government work to contain the new coronavirus (COVID-19). Vicente Sederberg is closely monitoring the situation, and we are communicating with regulators to understand how these local, state and federal responses may affect cannabis business operators, medical patients, and other cannabis consumers. We are committed to doing everything we can to keep our clients and the public updated as we learn of new developments, but please note this is an extremely fluid situation and there is a lot we do not know. This VS Insights post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal or tax advice. We strongly encourage you to contact an attorney if you are seeking advice regarding any specific legal or tax issue.

Latest Updates

May 7, 2020

  • Gov. Sisolak announced that Nevada is ready for Phase One reopening beginning Saturday, May 9, with statewide standards. The Phase One directive contains guidelines and protocols for individuals, employers, and businesses as they enter the Phase One reopening process.

  • Under the Phase One directive, retail cannabis dispensaries may conduct in-store sales following specific guidelines.

    • Dispensaries are encouraged to continue delivery and pick-up operations.

    • Dispensaries may conduct in-store sales after submitting a plan and receiving approval from the state's Marijuana Enforcement Division. The plan must adhere to strict social distancing requirements including:

      • The number of customers in the dispensary facility should at no time exceed 10 customers or 50% of allowed occupancy based on the applicable fire code; or, whichever is fewer.

      • Consultations must be held virtually or by phone or email whenever possible.

    • Employees must wear face coverings and facilities must turn away any customer who refuses to wear a face covering.

April 30, 2020

  • Gov. Sisolak and the Nevada Health Response announced the Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery Plan for transitioning from the emergency response phase of the COVID-19 emergency to a gradual, phased reopening. The roadmap is comprised of four distinct phases leading to the final phase of a “new normal” that will allow Nevadans to begin easing social and physical distancing measures.

April 29, 2020

  • Gov. Sisolak issued Emergency Directive 016, extending a majority of Stay at Home measures through mid-May, but easing some restrictions beginning May 1. Eased restrictions include the allowance of all retail businesses, including cannabis dispensaries, to operate under curbside commerce models similar to curbside pickup presently allowed for restaurants.

March 20, 2020

  • Gov. Sisolak issued an Emergency Declaration, effective through April 16, that requires retail cannabis dispensaries to shut down their storefronts and operate by delivery only in accordance with guidance issued by the Department of Taxation and the Cannabis Compliance Board.

  • The Department of Taxation released a corresponding statement about the MED’s implementation of  new virtual delivery vehicle inspection procedures to address any increase in demand for delivery sales. Per the statement, curbside pickup is expressly prohibited.

  • Cannabis cultivation, production, distribution, and independent testing facilities may continue operating and are strongly encouraged to adhere to social distancing guidelines. VS’s physical distancing guidelines for cannabis businesses can be found here.

March 18, 2020

  • The State of Nevada Department of Taxation issued a press release in response to COVID-19 indicating that licensed cannabis stores and medical dispensaries may remain open but must adhere to strict social distancing protocol (at least 6-foot separation) during this time.

    • Licensees are not permitted to allow individuals to congregate inside stores or outside while waiting in line.

    • All patient consultations must be conducted by phone or video.

    • Consumers are encouraged to use delivery services or complete orders online or over the phone when possible.

  • The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) implemented new temporary delivery vehicle inspection procedures to support increased market demand for cannabis deliveries. Please note that curbside pickup is not permitted as of writing. MED indicates that they will continue to enforce all regulations and will remain available to service any and all complaints of non-compliance. Licensees are expected to give deference to medical patients and their needs during this difficult time, and to maintain strict measures to promote the health and safety of the public.

March 17, 2020

  • Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issued a statement urging Nevadans to stay home and for all nonessential business to temporarily close to the public for 30 days. Nevada Health Response has issued helpful guidance for Nevadans to follow in observing best practices to curb transmissions of COVID-19 and determining which businesses are deemed nonessential. 

The content and links provided on this page are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal or tax advice. Viewing this page does not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with a qualified legal professional for advice regarding any particular issue or problem. The contents of this page may be considered attorney advertising under certain rules of professional conduct.