The COVID-19 pandemic has nearly every business across the US reeling. Fortunately, the cannabis industry is adjusting well to edicts on self-isolation, closing physical locations, and more. In the past week, we’ve seen dispensaries try new approaches with:
Cannabis sales spiked as shoppers stocked up on cannabis, uncertain when they would be able to visit a dispensary again. However, as more stringent social restrictions are put in place, dispensaries are adjusting to serve the public.
Although cannabis delivery has been a hot-button issue in the past, Michigan’s Governor Whitmer issued an executive order that temporarily allows curbside pickup and delivery at dispensaries. However, it’s important to note that dispensaries have to track their drivers, confirm the age of customers, and have enough cash available to drivers to make change, since dispensaries still can’t use most digital banking systems.
Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) must approve these delivery measures for each cannabis dispensary, too. The state agency is hoping to approve all requests within 24 - 48 hours, so dispensaries can operate with as few interruptions as possible.
In Illinois, dispensaries are allowed to sell medicinal cannabis outside of their storefronts through March 31. They’re permitted to sell outside on their property, as well as adjacent sidewalks and curbs. Recreational customers will still need to purchase cannabis inside and follow strict social distancing guidelines. This includes:
Keeping all customers six feet apart.
Allowing lines to form outside the storefront only.
Employees wearing gloves at the cash register.
Asking patients to flash their medical card instead of handing it to an employee.
Illinois is still prohibiting cannabis delivery, but many dispensaries are allowing customers to order ahead, which minimizes employee contact with shoppers. Other dispensaries have completely shut down adult-use sales, while others have enacted limited hours for recreational customers.
In other states across the US, dispensaries are adopting more stringent measures designed to keep people apart, including:
Closing every other cash register.
Giving priority to the elderly and disabled.
Offering curbside pickup, delivery, and preorders.
Suspending the use of “sniff jars.”
Cleaning high-traffic areas every half hour.
While COVID-19 has had a palpable effect on the global economy, cannabis operators are getting creative to keep their doors open. It’s inevitable that some dispensaries may need to close temporarily. However, those that continue to serve their customers in a safe way stand to ride out COVID-19 with fewer headaches.
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