FL Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Respond To Coronavirus With ‘Herb-Side Pickup’

Medical marijuana businesses are adapting new procedures

While restaurants empty and bars close, patients depending on medical marijuana don’t need to worry — dispensaries have remained open, albeit with new procedures to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Dispensaries are labeled an essential service under the same umbrella as health care and pharmacies, so business closures mandated made by local governments won’t affect operations, said Vinit Patel, regional dispensary operations manager for Curaleaf, which has nearly 30 locations across Florida. 

Medical marijuana businesses are adapting new procedures to encourage social distancing. Some are closing lobbies and moving operations outdoors, or allowing “herb-side pickup,” such as RiSE Dispensary in Bonita Springs.

Patients pull up to the front door and show an ID to the waiting associate. The customer hands a cash payment through their car window — all medical marijuana transactions use cash, not credit cards or checks — and the associate fills the order and delivers the prescription, all without leaving their car.

“(Curbside pickup) is indefinite until we find anything different that leads us to believe it’s safe to bring customers back inside the building,” said Jessica Brown, general manager. “Otherwise, it’s business as usual.”

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