Covid-19: US states see cannabis dispensaries as a necessity
More and more states and local officials are declaring that “essential” medical cannabis dispensaries are akin to pharmacies. Critical businesses can remain open even as non-essential businesses are forced to shut down to help contain coronavirus outbreaks.
Tacit declarations and approvals help medical cannabis companies, many of which feared they would have to close as COVID-19 containment measures increased.
By taking these steps, cannabis industry watchers say regulators are placing medical cannabis companies in a special category above other traditional businesses such as restaurants, bars and shops.
Even temporary shutdowns could prove devastating for some cannabis companies, especially financially fragile businesses.
Many customers rely on cannabis products to relieve conditions such as chronic pain, severe epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
However, the recognition of medical cannabis dispensaries as “essential” is done transparently across the country, and it is not certain that jurisdictions will adopt this view.
Here are some examples :
- The State Department of Health New York said on Tuesday that medical cannabis companies were essential.
- The Governor of NevadaSteve Sisolak ordered all non-essential businesses to close for 30 days starting at noon Wednesday. But regulators have said licensed recreational cannabis stores and dispensaries are allowed to remain open as long as they adhere to strict social distancing protocols, according to guidelines released Wednesday. License holders must not allow individuals to congregate, and consumers are strongly encouraged to use cannabis delivery services or place orders online or by phone.
- San Francisco on Monday ordered the closure of non-essential businesses, including all cannabis stores, but overturned that decision on Tuesday, saying cannabis dispensaries could remain open, but only for pickup and delivery.
- A number of states across the country are allowing the expansion of curbside delivery and pick-up services, measures cannabis companies see as a form of official recognition that dispensaries are an essential service.
- Rural communities, such as in the mountainous regions of Colorado, including Gunnison and Summit Counties, also allowed marijuana dispensaries to stay open this week, while cutting back on activities and non-essential activities such as restaurants and bars.
- Legal sales increased 159% in California in one day.
Defense groups and medical experts are also urging government officials to allow the clinics to remain open.
For example, the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access sent a letter this week urging state governors and regulators to take immediate action to ensure medical cannabis services are not disrupted when governors create contingency plans against the disease. coronavirus.
'It's about being good': Cannabis stores thrive as 'essential businesses' in coronavirus pandemic
Harvard Medical School instructor Dr. Peter Grinspoon told the Boston Globe that while he thinks Massachusetts should shut down as many businesses as possible, “we have to think very carefully that tens of thousands of people in (the state) are really addicted to cannabis as a medicine. Cutting them off would mean “a catastrophe,” he said.
Even suppressing recreational cannabis sales could cause serious disruption for some if no exceptions are made, industry officials say. This is because many cannabis customers have not registered as medical weed patients but use products purchased from adult stores to treat medical conditions.
New York state health regulators said on Tuesday that licensed medical cannabis businesses were "essential" services, allowed to remain open if non-essential businesses were to close due to COVID-19.