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US cannabis consumers and patients are asking questions like: will my local shop close? Will delivery be an option? Cannabis Wire is tracking cannabis regulators’ announcements.
Editor’s note: this story was originally published on March 19 and was most recently updated on March 25. We’ll continue to update as regulators announce new policies.
So far, during the COVID-19 pandemic, cannabis sales are through the roof as consumers stock up in anticipation of supply chain disruption. But, despite this upswing, cannabis companies are bracing for impact. As Cannabis Wire reported this week, a dilemma has hit the nascent industry: to close or not to close? Already, Canopy Growth chose to close nearly two dozen shops in Canada, and we’re tracking how other companies are reacting.
But what happens in the case of forced closures? Cannabis regulators will have to weigh tough decisions in the coming days as businesses, from gyms to bowling alleys to bars, are asked to close as part of broader efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
(While Canadian consumers can legally order cannabis online, should closures occur, changes are taking place north of the border. On March 19, the Prince Edward Island Cannabis Management Corporation, the province-run adult use cannabis shops, announced its shops would close “until further notice.”)
Cannabis Wire is talking to regulators across the US in states where cannabis is legal for medical use, adult use, or both. We’re asking: Will medical cannabis shops be considered “essential?” Will medical and adult use shops be treated differently? If it isn’t already, will delivery be allowed?
As the responses flow in, or as relevant announcements are made, we’ll update below:
STATES WITH ADULT USE AND MEDICAL USE
On March 17, San Francisco’s Department of Public Health tweeted, “Cannabis is an essential medicine for many San Francisco residents. Dispensaries can continue to operate as essential businesses during this time.” (This was a reversal of their initial decision when the Bay Area was ordered to shelter-in-place.)
On March 19, Los Angeles County tweeted, “To answer a popular question: cannabis dispensaries with a medicinal cannabis license are considered essential and may remain open.”
This was in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s order, also on March 19, that Californians stay home. On March 21, the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control announced that “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 rules and regulations.”
Published: March 25, 2020
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News