The effects of the decades-long puritanical campaign by federal authorities against cannabis linger against the legitimate industry despite cannabis’ long history of use, including by the founding fathers who moonlighted as hemp traffickers, cultivating cannabis on industrial scales for commercial sale.
The Inequitable Treatment of Alcohol vs. Cannabis
In the latest case of unacceptable double standards in favor of the alcohol industry, liquor stores remain open during the pandemic because the government has labeled them “essential” businesses.
Alcohol directly or indirectly causes over 3 million deaths each year. Not a single death caused by marijuana—including CBD or any other form – in human history.
In addition to the massive difference between the two in terms of mortality, CBD has been proven to alleviate anxiety and depression – two conditions that are, depending on how extensively the COVID-19 virus spreads, likely to increase during the months of possible quarantine ahead.
Some States Allow Dispensaries to Operate
A dozen states have permitted dispensaries to remain open. Just like with other consumer products like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, many CBD users took the opportunity to stock up on their supplements in anticipation of a possible total lockdown or a shortage of goods.
The decision by many states to allow the continued operation of legal cannabis retailers came as a result of the vociferous advocacy of activists, industry leaders, and users, many of whom responded with outcry to some cities’ and states’ efforts to force pot businesses to close.
The responsiveness of local authorities to opposition from cannabis users and businesses shows the increasing cultural and political power of a subculture once relegated to the dark corners of society.
Fear of a Black Market Boom
One of the reasons cited by public policy analysts for state and city governments’ allowance of dispensaries to remain open is the fear of increased black market sales of marijuana and the associated crime seen with underground economies.
Because of the economic pressures that have accompanied the near-total economic shutdown for the foreseeable future, governments around the world are bracing for a surge in some types of crime.
Adding an additional element to the criminal world by restricting legal marijuana sales through dispensaries would increase the burden on law enforcement that will already be stretched thin in the months to come.
The New Regulations Dispensaries
If you’re headed to the local dispensary to redouble your CBD supply, you can expect a few changes at locations in the states that have allowed business to continue.
First, as in restaurants and other industries, the practice of social distancing. In some cases, jurisdictions have decided that this necessitates carry-out only service, meaning that dispensary workers will deliver products to customers waiting in their cars rather than in lines in the store where transmission of COVID-19 is possible.
Other establishments still allow customers to enter, but with several new safety protocols. Workers and customers are advised to wear gloves and masks, to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet. Some cannabis dispensaries are checking customers’ temperatures as they arrive and refusing service to people with elevated temperatures.
The Coming Weeks and Months of Quarantine
For now, the likelihood of cannabis dispensaries remaining open for the course of the pandemic seems high. However, a series of infections traced back to a dispensary could sway some local governments to reconsider keeping them open.
In the meantime, you might want to consider stocking up on CBD and other cannabis products in case they become difficult to get. While a complete drought of CBD is unlikely, recent history has taught us to expect the unexpected.