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cannabis an essential business

COVID-19, more commonly called the coronavirus, has changed everyday life for almost the entire civilized world. Businesses are shut down and people have been asked to remain indoors. Essential shopping has been allowed, making necessities accessible. But what makes a business essential and why is cannabis an essential business?

 

The answer to these questions can vary slightly depending on where you are located. Generally speaking, “essential businesses” are ones that supply customers with a “needed” product or service. “Non-essential businesses” provide products or services that are more for a “want” than a “need” basis.

 

Cannabis mainly falls into the “essential” category, but has this changed interactions for consumers? We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions concerning cannabis consumers during the COVID 19 pandemic. 

 

Why is Cannabis an Essential Business?

Cannabis is deemed an essential business in many states because of its medicinal qualifications. Medical marijuana is prescribed due to some type of ailment. This means that patients must see a doctor before they can get a medical marijuana card or qualification.

 



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In some states, a patient who needs medicinal marijuana can just go get some from a recreational store. It is not mandatory to get a prescription or a medical card in order to purchase. In this case, even though it is a recreational store, the marijuana product is “essential” to the individual.

 

Many people also use CBD products for the same “essential” reasons as medical marijuana patients. CBD products offer many of the same types of effects and benefits. However, CBD products don’t get you high. Many choose CBD because it is not addictive, and it doesn’t create any withdrawal symptoms, unlike some THC products.

 

The New York Times wrote that the “official recognition that for some Americans, cannabis is as necessary as milk and bread.” Although that sounds like hyperbole, it is true. Millions of Americans have a dependence on cannabis for their daily functions. Some have developed a physical dependence on it in a way similar to coffee drinkers who suffer from fatigue, headaches, and irritability when they break their cycle. 

 

In many states, alcohol and liquor stores have also been labeled “essential.” That is because withdrawal from liquor can lead to medical ailments that are well documented and can be severe. While cannabis dependence is nowhere near as potent or life-damaging as alcoholism, the concept remains the same. Depriving cannabis consumers’ access can be unhealthy. 

 

cannabis is an essential business

 

Are All Sections of the Cannabis Industry “Essential”? 

Yes, for the most part, it seems all sections of cannabis are deemed essential business. The cannabis industry thrives off of two types of cannabis: marijuana and hemp. Marijuana contains high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and in general, it contains low amounts of cannabidiol (CBD).

 

Hemp, on the other hand, contains high levels of CBD and low levels of THC (0.3% or less). The reason the US government separates them this way is that THC gets you high and CBD does not.

Between marijuana and hemp, the industry is separated into several other sections or subcategories, such as marijuana grows, hemp farms, medical marijuana (MMJ) stores, recreational marijuana (RMJ) stores, delivery services, online hemp (CBD) retailers, and local CBD stores.

 

Each of these categories of the cannabis industry must follow different rules according to the federal government, state government, and local officials. CBD has the least restrictions, probably because it doesn’t get you high. According to the 2018 farm bill, as long as a CBD product has less than 0.3% THC it is legal throughout the US.

 

As for MMJ and RMJ retailers, it all depends on which state you are in when it comes to the “essential” designation for cannabis. There are different regulations in different places. In most states with legalized medical marijuana, patients should not worry. For this reason, we will address in general how each one of these has been affected by the mandated quarantine.

 

 

Medical & Recreational Marijuana

Did you know there is a difference between recreational marijuana dispensaries and medical marijuana dispensaries? There are different qualifications and licenses involved. Medical dispensaries can typically offer their patients better prices.

 

This is because medicine may be taxed differently than other products. Patients must have a medical card, or whatever proper documentation is needed in their state. Recreational marijuana dispensaries do not have medical qualifications, and may not be able to remain open in some states because they are not deemed “essential.”  

 

Here is a list of all the states where dispensaries are open, including Washington DC and Puerto Rico, and how they have been regulated as of April 15th, 2020. Keep in mind, these only pertain to state-licensed dispensaries. Dispensaries that are operating outside of state regulations, which are typically those that accept cash only, are not included in our analysis.  

 

Alaska: Both medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open.

Arizona: Both medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open.

Arkansas: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

CaliforniaBoth medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open.

Colorado: Both medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open.

Connecticut: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

Delaware: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

Florida: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

Hawaii: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open.

Illinois: Both medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open.

LouisianaMedical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

Maine: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open.

Maryland: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

Massachusetts: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

Michigan: Both medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

Minnesota: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

Montana: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

Nevada: Both medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

New Hampshire: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

New Jersey: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

New Mexico: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

New York: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

North Dakota: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open although COVID-19 has caused some locations to close due to a decline in consumers and other regulations.

Ohio: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

Oklahoma: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

Oregon: Medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries were allowed to provide curbside service, but the business has not been officially deemed “essential.”

Pennsylvania: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

Puerto Rico: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

Rhode Island: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

Utah: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

Vermont: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open.  

Washington DC: Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

Washington: Both medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries are essential businesses and can remain open. 

 

 

Are Local CBD Stores Affected?

Hemp is deemed “essential” by the US government. Unfortunately, according to some state governments, local CBD stores have been deemed “non-essential”. Although some city governments have allowed stores to remain open as long as they limit customers and follow social distancing rules.

 

For example, the state of Wisconsin deems CBD stores are not “essential”. Although, according to Milwaukee city officials CBD is “essential” business. These regulatory discrepancies have caused confusion among several CBD retailers causing some to close their doors and others to remain open with limitations.

 

According to hempindustrydaily.com, “Some Texas counties are allowing CBD shops to remain open if they practice acceptable social distancing by providing phone and online orders, curb-side delivery and other services. But law enforcement in other counties have forced CBD retailers to close completely.”

 

If you buy CBD locally you may want to call before you visit any retailers. You can make sure they are open and see how they are operating during the pandemic. Alternatively, you can always order CBD online from an established brand if you want to avoid going to a local store.

 

Cannabis Essential Business Guidlines

The cannabis industry must follow rules like any other essential business. Dispensaries and retailers that remain open must follow strict guidelines. This means social distancing of 6 feet. It also requires no more than 10 people in the store at a time. Many stores are offering online and pick up services to make things safer for consumers and patients.

 

In many cases, dispensaries are implementing delivery only policies. This has led to an influx of curbside delivery jobs as well. Some recreational marijuana dispensaries have also found ways to remain open by switching their service to delivery only.

 

Are Online CBD Stores Affected?

Online CBD stores are widely unaffected by Covid-19. If you are ordering CBD online for home delivery, there should not be any new Covid-19 related regulations stopping you. With that being said, there are circumstances where online CBD stores are experiencing shortages. Other online providers are hitting roadblocks with their in-house production due to other industries closing. 

 

Some online CBD retailers import their products or they use offshore companies to help make their products. Due to the coronavirus limiting some oversea trading (such as with China) some US-based CBD companies cannot get supplies or certain products made.

 

Fortunately, here at Cheef Botanicals, our production has not been affected, mainly because we are the manufacture. Plus, all of our ingredients (including our CBD) and our packaging are made in the USA. If you happen to order from us – whether it be CBD oil or CBD flower, you can rest assured that you will get a quality CBD product.

 

How is the Cannabis Market Now?

The cannabis market has seen an increase in sales for several reasons. Consumers are stressed and worried during this pandemic, and cannabis has long been used to help manage stressful situations.

 

The closure of bars and clubs has also led many causal consumers to step up their typical purchases. Because of this spike in sales, the cannabis supply has taken a hit in many places as well. Some dispensaries are experiencing long wait times and short inventories as they are hit by eager consumers.

 

For those who were caught in between filing paperwork related to cannabis, they are experiencing the worst delays of all. If you were trying to open a dispensary or getting things going in a marijuana business, you may find it difficult to get legal documents through the processing and completion stage right now.

 

Final Thoughts About Cannabis Being an Essential Business

These are worrying times, but rest assure that if you need medical marijuana or CBD you should be able to access it. Luckily, for the most part, the cannabis industry is an essential business. Although there may be longer than usual wait times, and some items may not be in stock, there should be no major hiccups for those in need of medical marijuana. Curbside and online services are key during this time. Even if you live in an area where dispensaries are allowing consumers in the store, you should exercise your own caution and just order to your home if possible. Stay safe!



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