In many localities around the country, the novel coronavirus, and the disease it causes (COVID-19), are shutting restaurants, bars, casinos, hotels, and other leisure and recreational establishments. Essential services are remaining open during this period, including utilities, pharmacies, grocery stores, and medical marijuana dispensaries.
In New York, California, Illinois, and other states, government officials have issued guidance declaring that medical marijuana dispensaries are to be considered essential services, and will remain open during the pandemic shut-downs.
On March 17, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released an executive order directing “non-essential” business to move to remote work and/or shut-down. According to NPR, a spokesperson for the governor confirmed that “registered organizations in the State's Medical Marijuana Program are essential medical providers and will allowed to remain open."
States and localities are also taking steps to facilitate patients access to medicinal marijuana by granting temporary reprieves from the strict guidelines regulating sales. For example, Illinois and New Jersey, among others, are permitting dispensaries to take orders and deliver marijuana to patients in their cars or outside the dispensary. States are also experimenting with ways to further relax regulations to increase patients’ access to medicinal marijuana, include increased delivery services.
The cannabis team at Bressler is actively monitoring all legislative action impacting the industry during this unprecedented time. We will continue to update COVID-19 BAR website as developments occur.
For more information, or if you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Caution and Disclaimer: Possessing, using, distributing and/or selling marijuana or marijuana-based products is illegal under federal law, regardless of any state law that may decriminalize such activity under certain circumstances. Interested businesses and individuals should be aware that the status of federal law presents an uncertain risk, which is not mitigated by compliance with state law. We do not provide any guidance or assistance in violating federal law.