Why Cannabis Dispensaries Are Essential During A Global Pandemic


cannabis-dispensaries-are-essential-during-pandemic

At the time of writing this, many are adjusting their lives to account for current restrictions due to the virus COVID 19. Unlike any other virus in recent history, this one has caused mass closures, cancellations, and shortages in many sectors. During any extra precautionary health situations, natural and homeopathic products always increase in sales. Cannabis is no exception. While we knew that legal cannabis sales were nowhere near a plateau, in the past few weeks the US has seen a significant increase in sales amidst the quarantine scares. Cannabis consumers often consider having access to cannabis dispensaries – necessary.

Consumers Are Buying More

Sales were up across the board on cannabis products, and people are buying more than they normally would in a single purchase. Roy Bingham, CEO of BDS Analytics, which collects cannabis industry data, had stated there’s a 10 percent increase in the number of purchases nationwide and a 20 percent increase in the amount of products people are purchasing. With fears of shut-downs customers are purchasing products that they know and like. Not only does cannabis help in times of stress and anxiety, but those who use cannabis to manage a medical condition are amongst those that are especially worried.

Governor Urged to not Shut Down Cannabis Dispensaries

In a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom, signed by several dozen local cannabis businesses, implored him not to cut off consumer access to cannabis during this time. “As retail businesses, like pharmacies, that provide medicinal and therapeutic products to millions of Californians, licensed cannabis dispensaries should not be included in any future guidance or order to shut down,” the letter stresses.

Cannabis Retailers Adjust to “State of Emergency” Protocols

Cannabis companies were delighted at first with the self-quarantine efforts leading to a rush to the dispensaries, but as the seriousness of the virus has grown more, adjustments have been taking place. Whether it is by scaling back sales projections or switching to online orders with curbside delivery, cannabis executives and regulatory agencies are jumping into action. Regulators in San Francisco took the most drastic ahead of any other California locality, telling all cannabis shops and delivery services on March 16, 2020, to halt all sales because cannabis companies were classified as “nonessential” services.

Many Feel Cannabis Dispensaries are Essential

Essential businesses can remain open even as nonessential companies are forced to close to help contain coronavirus outbreaks. Not even a week later, more states and local officials are declaring medical cannabis dispensaries as “essential” services akin to pharmacies. Many customers rely on cannabis products to relieve conditions such as chronic pain, severe epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, like in New York and Nevada, the acknowledgment of medical cannabis dispensaries as “essential” is happening in a patchwork way across the country. It’s uncertain how many jurisdictions will adopt that view.

The Cannabis Industry is Resilient and Adaptable

In a similar patchwork pattern, med/rec dispensaries are suspending recreational cannabis sales in an effort to decrease the risk of exposure for medical cannabis cardholders. Dispensaries in several states have been granted emergency permissions to temporarily allow home delivery for patients and/or curbside pick-up options. In the last two decades, the US has gone from cannabis prohibition to states recognizing that access to legal cannabis, especially during a pandemic – is ESSENTIAL.


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Natasha Winkler
Natasha has worked as a journalist in the cannabis scene for several years. She travels regularly in her tiny house school bus conversion to keep up to date with the ever-changing industry. Her experience is varied and eclectic.

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  1. At this time, should me a little cheaper! I am on SSI $ my money only gos so far! We need this & hope people dont abuse this right, NO HOARDING