Once it became clear that the coronavirus wasn’t just passing by, governments all over deployed measures to help curb its spread. Social distancing and self-isolation were at the top of the list, along with shutting down all but the most essential businesses. In most states with legal marijuana programs, the cannabis industry was also deemed essential.
State governments also relaxed their cannabis laws and allowed online ordering and curbside pickups to further reduce the risk of contact between employees and customers. The response to these measures has been positive, and there have been calls for them to stay in place even after the virus runs its course.
Before the pandemic, Colorado law didn’t allow online ordering and curbside pickups. Now, stakeholders and customers alike can’t have enough of it. Coupled with curbside pickups, it is fast, efficient, and safe.
“I’d like to see the curbside option stay around after this, even with core restrictions in place,” says Hannah Munsterman, general manager of the Clinic’s dispensary in the Highland neighborhood. “That way, we still have limited exposure from people coming in the store.”
With experts saying that the coronavirus pandemic might last two years, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to extend curbside pickups.
Although Governor Jared Polis’ office declined to comment on any possible extensions, the state Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) has stated that it might be possible to extend curbside ordering. The agency is responsible for executing the governor’s orders with respect to the cannabis industry.
According to Shanon Gray, the MED’s communication director, the department couldn’t allow long term ordering from dispensaries unless there is a statutory change or Governor Polis issues another executive order. It is, however, looking into whether curbside ordering can remain without a regulatory update.
“We understand our stakeholders’ interest in maintaining a range of options they can utilize to serve their customers consistent with social distancing guidelines. On that front, we are currently evaluating which provisions we have the ability to implement on a long term basis,” says Gray.
“Absent those changes, licensees should keep in mind the 120-day timeline that applies to the emergency rules.” She says that the MED is using this period to “reflect on what worked well and what didn’t and considering new information gained through these efforts to streamline our operations and in future rulemaking efforts where applicable.”
“This last month required a quick shift to remote work options and heavier reliance on technology, and we anticipate this experience will lead to more conversations about how we can better leverage technology to serve our customers,” she adds.
It would be interesting to hear the views of industry actors like Green Growth Brands Inc. (CSE: GGB) (OTCQB: GGBXF) regarding which of the measures introduced during this pandemic can remain after the situation has returned to normal.
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