California Cannabis COVID-19 License Fee Deferrals

California’s cannabis licensing authorities are offering license fee deferrals to provide immediate financial assistance to state cannabis licensees impacted by COVID-19.

The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA), and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that businesses with state commercial cannabis licenses expiring between now through June 30, 2020 may request 60-day deferrals of their license fee payments. This adds financial assistance to the relief provided to licensees from specific regulatory requirements.

Although cannabis is an “essential business” under Executive Order N-33-20, the industry is excluded from federal or banking-dependent assistance for small businesses. To date of publication, cannabis has still remained a Schedule I controlled substance.

These licensing authorities will begin accepting requests for fee relief immediately. License fee deferrals may be requested by those with a state cannabis license expiring between now and June 30, 2020. With a deferral, the license fee will be due 60 days from the date of the license expiration. Refunds will not be given for fees that have already been paid.

In addition to this financial relief from the state cannabis licensing authorities, cannabis businesses may be eligible for tax assistance offered by the California Department of Tax & Fee Administration, and the Franchise Tax Board.

A licensee who is unable to comply with a licensing requirement due to the pandemic may submit a disaster relief request to their respective licensing authority. To provide immediate assistance to licensees, licensing authorities have been providing relief from certain regulatory provisions unrelated to fees since the time of the first stay-at-home orders.