The coronavirus pandemic is coming to the United States. As in Europe, non-essential businesses are reducing their hours or closing. And while cannabis dispensaries are currently experiencing heavy traffic. Each state can choose to continue or stop cannabis sales. With no common rule, the US states generally consider them to be “essential shops” and ask that they are allowed to continue to operate while adapting to the new situation.
Natalie Fertig, a journalist from Politico, was able to confirm that the medical cannabis dispensaries in New York State will be able to continue to open. In the same vein, she added that Illinois has also issued rules for the continued sale of medical cannabis, which can now be sold outside the store, on the sidewalk or in the parking lot of the store, but only to patients undergoing cannabis treatment.
In order to limit exposure to the virus, the State of Michigan has decided to allow all dispensaries to deliver cannabis and to allow take-away sales outside dispensaries. Approximately 15 cannabis retailers and 66 medical cannabis dispensaries can now make home deliveries. The Cannabis Regulatory Agency has also temporarily removed the requirement for identification with the same address as the place of delivery and is committed to processing applications for delivery service licenses for companies already licensed to sell within 48 hours.
In Washington State, cannabis vendors are also not required to close but will be required to sell outside the walls of the dispensary, while remaining on their property. Only holders of a medical cannabis license will be able to come in for supplies.
In California, it is more a matter of interpreting the instructions. A prescription issued on Monday afternoon provided a list of essential services that could remain open, including medical facilities, leaving room for interpretation about dispensaries, which straddle the recreational and medical divide, with many residents nevertheless relying on cannabis for treatment and pain relief.
Enforcement will, therefore, be done on a county-by-county basis. Some, such as the county of Santa Cruz, have announced that they are allowing cannabis dispensaries to continue to operate on delivery or take-away basis. Others, such as San Jose, will only serve medical clients.