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Written by Sheena Beronio

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer seems to be following some precautionary business protocols amid the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak when she announced that dispensaries could start setting up delivery services in the meantime. Included on the same executive order is a nod to curbside pickup for dispensaries. All measures included in the executive order makes it easier for consumers to get their hands safely on cannabis.

This measure should be approved first by the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency shortly before commencing implementation.

Marijuana groups urge governors to protect cannabis patients from hoarding amid the coronavirus pandemic

Aside from setting up delivery services, marijuana groups wanted governors from concerned states to protect cannabis-dependent patients from cannabis hoarding. Businesses, even cannabis-related ones are shutting one by one, and soon, there won’t be enough cannabis supply for patients who badly need them. This is what groups are lamenting.

Hopefully, governors would see sense, as what Governor Whitmer did. Allowing the setting up of delivery services for all, especially for patients, could at least address the problem. It’s a viable solution for now to prevent crowding and unnecessary human contact.

Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a nonprofit cannabis advocacy group, sent an “emergency call to action” to governors sitting in states with legalized medical marijuana. The call of action is an urgent request to officials to device ways of ensuring the normal supply of cannabis for patients.

The emergency call to action letter was distributed the same day the San Francisco Department of Public Health ordered all cannabis establishments within the city to close. Furthermore, the order also disallows delivery services. The department deemed the cannabis establishments to be under “non-essential business.”

Some states allow their dispensaries to remain open for business. In Pennsylvania, cannabis stores are expected to remain operational, as they are considered under the category in which pharmacies are considered. Illinois, like Michigan, allows curbside pickups, a pretty effective way to limit human transmission.

In a recommendation to governors, ASA list down eight measures that a state needs to observe to prevent cannabis patients from not accessing cannabis while observing social distancing:

1. Make sure that cannabis businesses that serve patients are considered “essential” businesses.

2. Give tax relief to patients and businesses.

3. Instruct cannabis businesses on how they can safely tweak their systems legally in these times. Changes would include delivery schedules, purchasing limits, and more.

4. Keep cannabis farms and manufacturers open.

5. Extend the expiration of state-issued cannabis identification cards, to let health workers focus on the more pressing health issue, which is COVID-19.

6. Allow caregivers to cater to additional patients at the moment.

7. Permit telehealth visits for cannabis patients.

8. Allow dispensaries to set up deliveries.

Photo Courtesy of Detroit Metro Times