The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) is responsible for enforcing state laws regulating cannabis businesses, including laws to protect the health and safety of patients and consumers. One important tool in this effort is the embargo.
What is an embargo?
DCC may issue an embargo if there is probable cause to believe that cannabis or cannabis product are adulterated, misbranded, or otherwise in violation of state cannabis laws and regulations. Embargoed cannabis or cannabis products cannot be sold, distributed, removed from the location, or disposed of. In essence, an embargo freezes the cannabis or cannabis products in place while DCC investigates further.
How will DCC communicate information about items under embargo?
When DCC issues an embargo, DCC will notify the licensee or product owner by sending an initial notification. The initial notification will identify the cannabis or cannabis products that are subject to the embargo and will provide the reason(s) for the embargo.
After an embargo is issued, DCC will place an embargo tag or other marking on the embargoed item(s). DCC may also place a hold on the embargoed items in the California Cannabis Track and Trace system. Please be aware that you are still required to comply with the embargo even if these steps are not taken.
After the initial notification, DCC will issue additional notifications to communicate with the licensee or product owner about the embargo. The additional embargo notices will provide the licensee or product owner with specific instructions and deadlines for addressing the items under embargo.
If you’ve received a written “Initial Notice of Embargo” and need additional information, please contact the DCC representative identified in the notice directly or contact DCC at Compliance@cannabis.ca.gov.
How must I comply with an embargo?
You must not sell, distribute, remove from the location, or otherwise dispose of any item that is under embargo.
You must obtain written permission from DCC before taking action on an item under embargo.
What happens if I fail to comply with an embargo?
If a licensee violates an embargo, DCC may seek disciplinary action against their license. Among other things, this means that the licensee’s commercial cannabis license could be suspended or revoked.
Additionally, anyone who violates an embargo may be fined up to $10,000 per item.
How can licensees ensure they are notified about items in their inventory that are subject to an embargo?
The Department uses the points of contacts on file to issue notices. Please ensure that the email address and telephone number for all owners associated with your license and the Designated Responsible Party (DRP) for the license are up to date and accurate in the Department’s Licensing records.
You can also ensure that any embargo notice reaches the license owners and DRP by saving the following email address to your contacts: Compliance@cannabis.ca.gov, which should keep important compliance related notifications from being directed to junk or spam folders.
How can I get more information on embargoes?
Visit CannaConnect Resource Hub on DCC’s website for more information and links to the regulations.