Showing their truly innovative spirit, businesses are learning how to cope in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurants are offering curbside pickup, so why not cannabis dispensaries? We’ve already discussed how medical marijuana has been deemed a necessary business during the pandemic that can remain open. The question has been: How do you serve patients while remaining safe? The more we learn about the new coronavirus, the more we realize that it is especially virulent and aggressive, which is partly why it has spread so quickly around the world.
In late March, the state of Illinois decided that dispensaries that served medical clients could remain open, and could implement curbside sales. In a press release, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said:
“The guidelines will permit the dispensary to sell medical cannabis on the dispensary’s property or on a public walkway or curb adjacent to the dispensary. Medical cannabis patients will be able to continue to utilize their designated caregiver to purchase medicine for them. However, dispensaries may not deliver medical cannabis to a patient or caregiver’s home. These rules do not apply to adult use cannabis sales; those must still take place inside the limited access area.”
For customers who do have to go inside (anyone who isn’t a medical customer), then the state reinforced the mandate that efforts be taken to keep people 6 feet apart. As per the release, “Such efforts include moving lines outside the dispensary, closing down some point-of-sale systems, distancing patient/caregiver lines within larger dispensaries, and minimizing the time a patient/caregiver stands near agents.” Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, of course.
Sales to patients have strict guidelines, outlined in a separate press release. While the release stated the window for curbside extended to the end of March, it’s pretty clear that the state has extended that deadline. Governor Pritzker also extended deadlines for dispensaries and producers, likely due to the virus stalling some plans for operations to gear up in time and for state regulators to get caught up on paperwork. All of this has been a huge transition for everyone.
COVID-19 has also put pressure on Illinois to implement weed home delivery. A bill has already been introduced to do just that, but unfortunately legislative bodies work slowly and there’s no guarantee it’ll be allowed within this year. Then again, we could be in for years of dealing with the consequences of the virus, especially in light of the fact that doctors and researchers are starting to see signs that the virus could influence T-cells, which are responsible for our immunity overall. While HIV invades T-cells and uses them to make more of itself, this new virus could simply kill those cells, leaving us vulnerable to not only COVID-19, but pretty much anything that we used to take for granted because we had antibodies.