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Sales of medical marijuana have not died down amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, many medical marijuana patients have stocked up on supplies as many people have stocked up on toilet paper and other important household goods. Understandably, they’re afraid of a disruption in the supply chain that would keep them from accessing the MMJ they use for treatment. Some are even exploring growing their own medical marijuana for the first time.
There are certainly tough decisions ahead for many communities. If you’re a medical marijuana user, you may be wondering, “How has COVID-19 affected the medical marijuana industry?”. While the information is constantly changing, there are some important things to be aware of. Here’s how medical marijuana laws have changed in response to coronavirus.
What has changed depends largely upon where you live and your state’s answer to the question, “Are MMJ dispensaries an essential service?” In California, for example, many local governments consider marijuana an essential medicine for residents. Dispensaries are continuing to operate as essential businesses as long as they have a medicinal cannabis license. The same is true in places such as Colorado and Illinois.
In Michigan, medical marijuana laws surrounding delivery restrictions have been loosened, and the state is allowing for temporary curbside pickup in an effort to reduce contact between people. And in Nevada, medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed to stay open but must adhere to a precise set of social distancing protocols established by the state. However, in Iowa, dispensaries are allowing temporary curbside pickup, but home delivery is still not an option.
To check what is happening in your state and stay up to date with current information, you should check the website of the governmental body that oversees medical marijuana licensing and distribution.
What if you’re in the process of applying for a medical marijuana card? The good news is that in many states, this process has not been shut down either.
Arkansas, for example, is still processing medical marijuana applications and extending expiration dates due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Maryland has taken steps to authorize telehealth sessions for those seeking written certification renewal and extending the agent registrations that have been set to expire within 30 days of the state’s emergency order.
It seems as if states with legal medical marijuana are doing what they can to ensure that patients still have access to licenses. Again, you should check with the local licensing agency in your state to find out exactly what you must do to qualify for an MMJ card.
If you are a medical marijuana patient and you need access to supplies but are considered high risk for COVID-19 because of a compromised immune system, there still may be ways to get what you need.
As mentioned, many states with MMJ have addressed this concern, allowing for delivery or curbside pickup. Some options that may be available in your state include:
The answer to “Have MMJ laws been relaxed during coronavirus lockdown?” is yes in a lot of cases – but when it comes to sanitation, things have been taken up a level. Dispensaries across the board have been stepping up their sanitation protocols during the pandemic.
If you need to physically go to a dispensary to access your MMJ, you can bet that social distancing is enforced along with increased cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and the use of personal protective equipment by staff and other patrons. Many dispensaries have even implemented special hours for the elderly and those that are at higher risk during the pandemic. Check to see if your local dispensary is among those that offer this service.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not expected to go without your medical marijuana, but you should also do what you can when you go out to protect yourself and your health. Make sure to stay at least six feet from people when entering a dispensary and wear a mask or facial covering if it’s been deemed essential in your state in order to go out in public. Make sure to wash your hands frequently as well – this is one of the best things you can do to limit your exposure.