The coronavirus crisis could mark a turning point in how mainstream society regards cannabis, Politico writes:
“Nearly all of the 33 states with legal medical or recreational markets have classified marijuana businesses as an essential service, allowing them to remain open even as vast swaths of the retail economy are shuttered. San Francisco and Denver initially announced plans to shut down dispensaries, but immediately backpedaled after a public furor.
Weed shops are essentially being treated the same as pharmacies, reflecting a dramatic shift in cultural perceptions about the drug over the last decade.”
The most notable exception is Massachusetts, where legalization skeptic Gov. Charlie Baker (R) decided REC shops were not essential, but MED and liquor stores are.
- MED card issuers have seen more business, Boston Globe reporter Daniel Adams noted in his newsletter.
- The Chicago Sun-Times looks at how REC went from illegal to essential in three months.
Congress hasn’t noticed. In Wikileaf, Matt Laslo writes cannabiz got “screwed” by the record $2.2 Trillion federal stimulus package, which essentially gives the industry nothing.
- Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said cannabis businesses should be eligible for relief.
- Workers laid off from cannabis jobs are eligible for the law’s expanded unemployment benefits.
A survey confirms that so far people aren’t cutting back their spending on cannabis and other intoxicants.
- Public Service Announcement: There is no evidence that anything in cannabis prevents Covid-19 or mitigates its symptoms. Some public health authorities suggest smoking or vaping may weaken the lungs and make a severe illness more likely.