Most states with legal cannabis programs have deemed marijuana essential as the world grapples with the Coronavirus pandemic. To reduce new infections and curb the spread of the virus, numerous governments all over the world have ordered lockdowns of varying degrees. Residents have been advised to stay indoors unless they absolutely have to, and all but the most essential businesses have been closed for the time being.
Fortunately for the millions of patients who rely on medical marijuana, marijuana was included in this category. With the exception of Massachusetts which has only allowed medical marijuana stores to remain open, all the other states have deemed both medical and recreational pot essential.
A large percentage of medical marijuana patients are senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals, and this puts them at greater risk. To keep both them and the staff safe, states have taken extra steps to help reduce their contact. In Delaware, officials have recently allowed medical marijuana home delivery under an emergency program to ensure patients receive their medicine while limiting their exposure.
One company, Columbia Care, has stores in Wilmington, Smyrna, and Rehoboth Beach, and it is expected to begin home deliveries as soon as this week. Although the program has been rolled out under Delaware’s state of emergency declaration, regulators have stated that they intend to allow deliveries to continue even after the virus runs its course.
“The Office of Medical Marijuana is not establishing this as a convenience option, but as a stop-gap system to allow homebound and the most vulnerable patients to obtain products safely,” says Paul Hyland, Director of the State Office of Medical Marijuana. He added that although there are still a number of steps to be completed and no firm date has been set for when deliveries will begin, ‘Columbia Care is looking to launch delivery this week.’
The emergency program could ultimately expand to other in-state dispensaries like First State Compassion and Fresh Delaware. “However at this time, they were not in a position to accommodate delivery in the time necessary to respond to the current situation,” says Hyland.
He adds that patients won’t be forced to take any extra steps to register for Columbia Care’s delivery service.
Leading cannabis advocacy group NORML has registered its approval of the emergency measure, stating that it is thrilled, and it has urged officials to implement the plan quickly. The group has also asked patients to only use the delivery option if they simply cannot do curbside pickups.
“Please be mindful that for many patients this will be their only option. If you can facilitate the online ordering with pick up option safely, please continue to do so and save this service for those who need it most.”
Analysts see this quick response by the regulators in Delaware to expedite the start of home deliveries as something that will be applauded by sector players like SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB: SING) who are concerned that the ongoing COVID-19 control measures will make it harder for the most vulnerable patients across the affected countries to access medical cannabis.
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