By: Tommy Lyons
Cannabis is medicine!
As the world finds itself engrossed in the largest public health crisis of our lifetimes, the Covid-19 pandemic, the novel coronavirus disrupting life for every American and most across the globe, is naturally on the top of everyone’s minds. As difficult as it is to think about the cannabis industry and reform movement at a time like this, the reality is that the coronavirus’ impact on our economy and society is also impacting cannabis, with the effects likely to get significantly worse in the coming weeks and months.
With that in mind, here are some of the ways in which the coronavirus crisis is impacting the cannabis industry, and things that consumers and businesses should keep in mind as we navigate this health crisis together.
It should go without saying that medical cannabis patients are the most vulnerable cannabis consumers, and the most at risk of serious complications from Covid-19. Dispensaries must take care to protect their patients, and states must enact emergency regulations designed to help businesses serve patients without compromising their health.
As states force the closure of more and more businesses to enforce social distancing, medical cannabis dispensaries must be treated like other essential businesses such as pharmacies and grocery stores. The lives of thousands of patients literally depend on it. This must also include cultivation and production facilities that produce the medicine that these patients rely upon. Plainly said, cannabis is medicine. The medical movement was not a wink and nod towards adult use. Cannabis was and remains real medicine that patients use to treat real ailments.
While it is crucial that dispensaries remain able to serve medicine to patients, they must take measures to enforce social distancing to reduce potential patient exposure to the virus. This means states must enact emergency regulations allowing for home delivery where it is not currently allowed, as well as curbside pickup so that patients do not have to step foot inside of the retail store to pick up their products.
Fortunately, many states are already taking these measures, with more expected to follow in the coming days and weeks. Maryland, Michigan, and Illinois regulators have already enacted curbside pickup, while Massachusetts has expanded delivery areas for approved dispensaries and recommended that patients who can afford it, buy their full two week supply of two and a half ounces at a time, rather than making multiple trips.
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