There are 45 U.S. states which are issuing stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This means thousands of businesses in each state have had to temporarily shutter as they are not “essential” to people and functioning society during the lockdown or to the state or local governments during lockdown.
Cannabis businesses in many of these states have been deemed “essential.” This “essential” identity has put cannabis into the forefront of public and societal needs with a renewed meaning as to what is essential to our lives as we stay at home. Cannabis is up there now with food, drug stores, gas, banking, internet, utilities, policing and firefighting as essential to a minimum-functioning society.
Marijuana and CBD and other products deriving from cannabis are recognized as being vital to people’s health, therapeutic needs and well-being during a serious disease outbreak. What is more, the essential designation applies to recreational cannabis businesses open in states that permit it.
Karen O’Keefe, the state policies director for the Marijuana Policy Project, says: “Most of the American public and an increasing number of government leaders stopped buying into the demonization of cannabis years ago. Now, not only have two-thirds of states recognized that medical cannabis should be legal—with 11 legalizing adult-use—many are recognizing that safe access to cannabis is essential.”
Even in Maryland, which governor is Larry Hogan (Republican), made medical cannabis growers, processors and dispensaries as exempt to the non-essential closing of businesses in the state. Medical marijuana deliveries in Maryland are being done in parking lots.