Amid Coronavirus, San Francisco, New York, Deem Marijuana Businesses ‘Essential’

Dispensaries and cannabis deliveries have been deemed critical

When San Francisco announced its “shelter in place” order this week, it said only “essential businesses” could remain open to support the public’s needs, such as grocery stores and gas stations. Missing from that list were marijuana dispensaries.

But a day after residents were told to stay home, the city revised its position and deemed cannabis “an essential medicine,” allowing stores to open.

Mayor London Breed announced “adjustments” to the city’s public health order issued the previous day. It originally said essential businesses, including banks and pharmacies, could remain open while residents were required to stay in their homes.

Now dispensaries and marijuana deliveries are deemed critical.

“We know this is an evolving situation,” Breed said at the Tuesday evening press conference.

“In terms of the cannabis dispensaries, the Department of Public Health today clarified that since cannabis has medical uses, dispensaries will be allowed to operate as essential businesses, just as pharmacies are allowed to do,” she added.

After the city’s initial announcement ordering residents to remain inside “with the only exception being for essential needs,” officials from both the city’s health department and its Office of Cannabis got in contact with local marijuana industry leaders, according to SFGate.

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