Coronavirus & Medical Marijuana
The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has impacted nearly every aspect of daily life. And guess what? This extends to medical marijuana as well. While marijuana has been controversial in its path towards legislation, nearly every state now permits medical marijuana with or without doctor recommendation. And if here’s one thing the pandemic has demonstrate, it’s that medical marijuana is more essential than ever before. Here’s what you should know (and it may surprise you!).
Essential v. non-essential businesses in COVID-19
Anyone who lives in a state that is under a stay-at-home order knows that all non-essential businesses are closed. This means restaurants, bars, and numerous other small businesses that help provide products and services to the community. When governors and public health officials outline the procedures for a stay-at-home order, there is some gray area. For example, in Arizona, golf courses are considered “essential” businesses under the outdoor recreation activities categories.
Thus, throughout this process, cannabis businesses had to be deemed “essential” or “non-essential” by state and local officials. This designation decides who can stay open during the forced closures and stay-at-home mandates. The verdict? Marijuana is indeed an essential business, which means no one needs to go without during this troubled time.
Why is it critical that recreational businesses stay open?
After all, if someone is a medical marijuana patient, shouldn’t they be able to get it regardless? It’s a medical need, right? That access point will stay open even if all the other “non-essential” businesses close. Why does it matter if people who just want to smoke weed get to smoke weed right now? It’s a pandemic after all!
Fortunately, due to the access that medical marijuana patients have one a daily basis (outside of COVID-19), there isn’t a great need to go through the process of becoming officially certified as patients. They can obtain what they need medically by just going and visiting a recreational business and many of them do this. Therefore, in order to take care of individuals who have medical needs, it’s crucial for all access points to stay open. This shouldn’t be an issue now because the American public and a number of government leaders stopped buying into the demonization of marijuana years ago. Safe access to cannabis is essential. Period.
Is it safe to obtain marijuana during this time?
Just like restaurants, the marijuana industry is enacting new temporary policies to expand its delivery service or curbside pickup. This allows consumers to obtain marijuana while adhering to social distancing recommendations. If an individual needs a doctor recommendation, some dispensaries are even allowing medical cannabis recommendations via telemedicine. No in-person examination necessary.
Ultimately, marijuana is an issue handled by the states, and each state has opted to handle it a little bit differently. That said, most have recognized medical marijuana as an essential business. Advocates have been working hard to ensure that all dispensaries remain open so that medical marijuana is available to those who require it.