March 21, 2020


COVID-19 Update for Cannabis Manufacturers

As we all continue to make adjustments and take precautions to protect the public, we wanted to let you know what you can expect from the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch and to answer some of the questions that you may have. 

Cannabis Businesses Can Remain Operational
Licensed Cannabis Businesses Deemed "Essential"
On Thursday, March 19, 2020 Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay at home order to protect the health and well-being of all Californians and to establish a consistent approach across the state to slow the spread of COVID-19. This order went into effect on Thursday, March 19, 2020, and is in place until further notice.

The order identifies certain services as essential , including food, prescriptions, and healthcare. These services can continue despite the stay at home order. Because cannabis is an essential medicine for many residents, licensees may continue to operate at this time so long as their operations comply with local and state rules and regulations.

Any licensee that continues to operate must adopt social distancing and anti-congregating measures and must follow the CDC's   Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease   at all times. 

Cannabis Product Safety
COVID-19 is spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with each other. At this time, there is no evidence associating COVID-19 with foodborne illness or suggesting that consumable products are a primary transmission route. 

To continue to ensure the integrity of products, it is important that employees handling cannabis or cannabis products continue to follow good manufacturing practices (GMPs), as required by regulation . GMPs include safe handling practices to prevent contamination, such as washing hands and work surfaces, wearing clean outer clothing, and any precautions necessary to prevent allergen cross-contact or other contamination. The poster below, which can be used in cannabis manufacturing facilities, highlights these essential routine tasks:

There are no requirements to notify the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch if one of your employees is subject to quarantine or tests positive for COVID-19. However, please do what you can to limit exposure to other employees, and follow all social distancing and safety instructions provided by your local and state public health departments.

We're Open and Available
The Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch team is still working and is actively serving the public. Our help desk teams, who respond to phone and email inquiries, continue to monitor communications from the public. We will respond to all inquiries as quickly as possible. We ask for your patience as we evaluate questions so we can provide you with thoughtful, relevant responses based on the most current information. Please consider emailing us, rather than leaving a voicemail, to help us continue to serve you.

License Renewals
Our licensing team is continuing to process applications for license renewal to ensure continuity of licensure and that cannabis businesses can remain operational to produce the products needed by medicinal consumers. Licenses can be renewed up to 60 days prior to their expiration, and the renewal process is simple. We have assembled a guide that explains each step:

We encourage you to submit your renewal application as early as you can within your renewal window, especially if you will need to schedule a cash payment appointment. This will help ensure we can accommodate your request in a timely manner, while also adhering to the latest precautions. If you have any questions as you enter your renewal period, please reach out to your assigned analyst or through

Upcoming Inspections
Our inspection teams are monitoring the latest public health guidelines and are taking precautions to prevent the spread of illness. If you are scheduled for an inspection, inspectors will contact you with instruction about whether the visit will need to be rescheduled. Inspectors may also contact licensees by phone, as they continue to monitor statewide activity in Track-and-Trace.
We're Working to Keep You Updated
Resources for employees, workers and the general public are available at the following sites:

In addition to these sites, we have also created a new page on our website where you can find COVID-19 updates from our office.

As we continue to navigate this unprecedented global event together, the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch will continue our work to serve the public and licensees. We will do our best to keep you apprised of any new information or resources applicable to your cannabis manufacturing license.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us at

The California Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) is one of three state licensing authorities charged with oversight of commercial cannabis activity in California. MCSB is responsible for licensing and regulating cannabis manufacturers and for establishing statewide standards for packaging and labeling of cannabis and cannabis products.

MCSB strives to protect public health and safety by ensuring commercial cannabis manufacturers operate safe, sanitary workplaces and follow good manufacturing practices to produce products that are free of contaminants, meet product guidelines and are properly packaged and labeled.