California’s response to the Cannabis industry, through this COVID-19 crisis, has been the right approach. As a result, the industry is thriving. In March, cannabis was deemed to be an essential service. But, it didn’t start out this way. The people spoke, the Government listened and it worked out well… Here is what happened down in California.
The public health order
On March 16th, the city of San Francisco issued a public health order requiring that residents remain in their homes, the only exception being to access essential services. Essential activities included things like acquiring necessary supplies such as food or pet food, caring for family members or the elderly, accessing Health Care Services, or operating an essential business. However, cannabis businesses were not on the list.
That Monday, dispensaries all over the state of California, and especially San Francisco, saw a huge increase in panic buying. People everywhere were stocking up, resulting in long lineups and high anxiety throughout the cannabis community.
While this was taking place, cannabis advocacy organizations all over California were condemning the decision and lobbying lawmakers. California’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, also known as NORML, was very vocal regarding the subject. Teaming up with other industry leaders, cannabis advocacy groups made their message loud and clear; cannabis is essential medicine.
In a press release issued the following day, Tues, Mar 17, 2020, Deputy Director for California’s NORML branch, Ellen Komp, made a point that seemed to hit home. “For this to happen in San Francisco, the city that brought us medical marijuana largely to serve immune-compromised AIDS patients, is especially troubling.”
The next day- Cannabis industry declared as an essential business
Mayor London Breed had this to say, “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 a central business is, just as pharmacies are allowed to do.”
By Tuesday night, dispensaries could operate ‘business as usual’.
California Cannabis Industry- 7 weeks later
As it turns out, making cannabis accessible in quarantine was a smart move. The public health order from San Francisco was adopted statewide. Other cities and states followed suit. In California, pot smokers have been and will continue to get baked and stay indoors. It’s no surprise that cannabis stocks have been doing fantastic; after all, sales keep on soaring.
California may have beautiful landscapes but social distancing and staying indoors is still the order of the day. Who knows when the public health order will be lifted? In the meantime, at least the Government respects the people’s need for weed.