As the summer reaches an end and the world is still turned upside down, businesses across the country are looking for help in dealing with the new regulations set in place. Employees and business owners are working harder than ever and seeing no end in sight.
Most states that have legalized medical marijuana have allowed dispensaries to remain open, although cannabis lobbyists have written open letters to state governors, arguing that many use cannabis as their primary source of income. The state of Pennsylvania has allowed liquor stores to remain open, but industry sources say closing a liquor store could pose a significant risk to drug addicts, especially as stress and unemployment increase and liquor sales may also be allowed on the black market.
States kept gun shops open after they were initially required to close, but after gun lobbyists convinced the Department of Homeland Security and the White House that firearms are a matter of public safety and protection, the states changed their move.
There has never been a better time for marijuana to come to the top of mainstream American society. State after state, governors and public health officials see cannabis shops as “essential” businesses that can stay open despite coronavirus-related closures and keep their mandates.
It was not so long ago that anyone who grew or sold marijuana was at risk of arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment. People may not be able to go bowling or watch movies in the movies, but they can still stock up on marijuana.
In the age of increasing legalization, cannabis providers in many states are seen as essential members of the community providing valuable services that are as valuable as collecting prescription drugs from the pharmacy or filling up at the gas station. Recreational companies are watching how many people who use marijuana for therapeutic purposes are jumping through the hoops needed for official certification as a patient, but these essential access points must remain open.
Advocacy groups are calling on governors and state officials to ensure that medical marijuana patients, in particular, continue to have access to the cannabis they need.
Two-thirds of states now recognize that medical cannabis should be legal, 11 have legalized adult use, and many also recognize that safe access to cannabis is critical. A growing number of state and federal law enforcement officials stopped demonizing cannabis a year ago, “said Dr. Michael O’Keefe, executive director of the National Organization for Marijuana Rights Reform.
In some states, authorities have introduced expanded dispensing services for medical cannabis, such as online dispensaries, making it easier for users to obtain marijuana while respecting social distancing measures. The Attorney General issued an order allowing doctors to make medical cannabis recommendations to new and existing patients with chronic pain through telemedicine and face examinations.
Marydaze is a new cannabis delivery service near social California and has been seeing an uptick in their new customer database, their COO Mckenzie Santa Maria credits this to the clean, safe and quick service her company provides.
Also, pharmacies can be limited to a limited number of locations in the state, rather than across the country. The New York Times said it was an “essential business” that could remain open and “stay at home.”
The state Department of Health says medical cannabis providers are “indispensable businesses” that are not subject to a general closure order.
Nonetheless, the industry has called on Congress to grant it equal access to disaster relief funds – a request that is necessary because its activities are still illegal under the current federal ban, are not generally eligible for such assistance, and, frankly, there are no unique public health and safety harms.
The coronavirus pandemic also highlights the discrepancy between federal and state policies: cannabis is a banned drug under several laws, and there are other ways to use it.
For others, however, it is a drug as crucial as any other – and advocates point out that users are not at risk, although they are discouraging smoking or vaping for the time being because of the health risks of exposing their lungs to the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.