Navigating Cannabis Embargoes: Essential Guidance for California Businesses

By: Armada Staff

In California’s dynamic cannabis industry, adhering to state regulations is vital for business success. California’s enforcement arm, Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), has a number of tools at its disposal to bring companies into compliance, including the use of “embargoes”.  Understanding embargoes and how to deal with them is critical for California cannabis businesses.

Understanding Embargoes:

DCC has defined  Embargoes, as legal restrictions imposed by the State, on cannabis or cannabis products suspected of regulatory violations. The purpose of an embargo is to temporarily halt the sale, distribution, removal, or disposal of affected items pending further investigation.

The process, for embargo notices, will follow this basic procedure: 

Initial Notice of Embargo may be oral or written and may be given via telephone, mail, facsimile, email or via your DCC portal.

Once the Notice of Embargo has been communicated, the DCC will provide an inventory list of the items under the embargo. Additionally, you can expect a visit to your premise to affix embargo tags on the product. In this communication, licensees will be provided the next steps, as well as timelines,  in order to resolve the embargo.

A Supplemental Notice of Embargo, issued after the original Initial Notice of Embargo, will reiterate the steps and timelines for resolving the embargo as well as instructing the licensee or product owner of the requirements for the “written plan” for addressing the embargo items.

Once the DCC reviews the plan for addressing the embargo, they will provide information and next steps for the product under the embargo.

Only the DCC or a court can lift an embargo.


Armada Law Corp recommends that all licensees maintain an ongoing relationship with the DCC, including keeping all contact information up to date within the licensing system. Additionally, we recommend utilizing the CannaConnect Resource, on the DCC website, to keep up with the ever-changing regulations for cannabis in California. Finally, we recommend that any licensee who receives notification of an embargo contact legal counsel immediately.


The DCC has determined Embargoes to be vital for maintaining regulatory compliance and upholding the integrity of California’s cannabis industry. It is important to understand the process, communicate effectively with regulatory authorities, and utilize available resources, in order to navigate embargoes confidently. If you have received an embargo notification, Armada is available to provide assistance. Contact us for a free consultation at (510) 200-8695 or


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