Disaster relief programs

Disaster relief programs

If you cannot meet a regulatory requirement due to a declared disaster, you can request disaster relief. Disaster relief is a temporary waiver of a specific DCC regulatory requirement. 

Disaster relief is temporary and subject to DCC’s discretion. DCC may require you to obey certain conditions in order to receive temporary disaster relief. Please note that DCC has no authority to offer relief from requirements that are administered by other agencies or imposed by statute.

You can read the full requirements for disaster relief in the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) regulations sections 15038.

Which disasters qualify

Only certain events qualify as “disasters” for which DCC may offer regulatory relief:

  • State of emergency proclaimed by the Governor
  • Local emergency proclaimed by the city or county

How to request disaster relief

  1. Gather your information
    Use the optional Request for Regulatory Relief form to describe your situation and request. Alternatively, you can submit a detailed e-mail describing your request. Make sure to include the information requested by the form.
  2. Submit your request
    Email your request to DisasterRelief@cannabis.ca.gov. An owner of the business must send the request.
  3. Wait for a determination
    The Department of Cannabis Control reviews and responds to each request received. If we approve your request, there may be conditions, such as a specific timeframe for the relief.

If you have questions or need help, email us at DisasterRelief@cannabis.ca.gov

Read on for examples of the ways disaster relief can be used to help cannabis businesses respond to specific disasters:

Drought

By October 19, 2021, a state of emergency due to drought had been proclaimed throughout the entire state. By the end of April 2022, 95% of California was experiencing “severe” or “exceptional” drought. 

DCC supports cannabis businesses’ efforts to respond to this historic, statewide drought—including their efforts to answer state and local calls to conserve water. If you believe relief from specific DCC licensing requirements would support your water-conservation efforts, please reach out to us. In particular, DCC intends to work with licensees to explore ways that disaster relief may help make it economically feasible to participate in local fallowing programs.

For additional drought-related resources, please see https://drought.ca.gov/drought-assistance/

Wildfires

In 2022, wildfires burned more than 2.5 million acres throughout California. California’s eight largest wildfires have all occurred since 2018.

DCC is here to help cannabis businesses protect life and property from California’s wildfires. For example, DCC disaster relief has eased requirements around transporting and storing cannabis and cannabis products to facilitate the prompt evacuation of areas threatened by wildfires. DCC stands ready to process future requests for wildfire-related disaster relief.

You don’t need to contact DCC before moving cannabis or cannabis products if you are facing an immediate threat: a licensee may move cannabis or cannabis products immediately if threatened by a wildfire or other disaster. After moving the cannabis or cannabis products, licensees must meet the following requirements:

  • The cannabis and/or cannabis products must be moved to a secure location where access is restricted to the licensee and the licensee’s employees and contractors.
  • Within 24 hours of moving the cannabis, notify DCC that the cannabis has been moved. Do this by emailing DisasterRelief@cannabis.ca.gov.
  • Upon request, you must allow DCC staff to access and inspect the location where the cannabis has been moved.
  • Within 14 days of moving the cannabis, notify DCC describing your request for regulatory relief using form DCC-8101 or providing the same information in writing. Email the request to DisasterRelief@cannabis.ca.gov.

For additional wildfire-related resources, please see www.readyforwildfire.org/.

COVID-19

DCC worked with cannabis businesses to protect workers and consumers from the historic upheaval caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. For example, DCC disaster relief has allowed retailers to sell cannabis and cannabis products outdoors, through curbside pickup. DCC continues to work with cannabis businesses as California emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For additional resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic, see https://covid19.ca.gov/workers-and-businesses/.