We’ve all been impacted by coronavirus by now. Whether we’re in full quarantine or simply self-isolating or still going to work as an essential employee, coronavirus has changed our day-to-day lives.
And many of us are wondering: how is coronavirus going to impact my cannabis consumption? Can I still access my legal products? Will the dispensaries be open? Is it even safe to smoke or vape cannabis, given that coronavirus is a respiratory illness?
Those are all good questions and we’ll answer them all. Keep reading.
Cannabis is an Essential Industry
The cannabis industry has made great strides in the last few years, going from illegal to what many states consider an essential industry, along with supermarkets, law enforcement, and hospitals.
As of March 30, 2020, the following states consider cannabis an essential industry and the following types of businesses are allowed to continue operations:
- California – state-licensed cannabis companies
- Colorado – medical and recreational cannabis vendors
- Connecticut – medical cannabis dispensaries and producers
- Delaware – medical cannabis dispensaries
- Hawaii – medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers
- Illinois – state-licensed cannabis growers and retailers
- Louisiana – the entire medical cannabis supply chain
- Massachusetts – licensed medical cannabis retailers
- Michigan – licensed medical and recreational cannabis businesses may operate if they offer curbside or delivery service
- Minnesota – both medical cannabis companies
- Montana – all state-licensed medical cannabis businesses
- New Hampshire – all five state-licensed dispensaries
- New Jersey – all medical marijuana dispensaries
- New Mexico – medical cannabis businesses
- New York – all licensed medical cannabis businesses
- Ohio – all licensed medical cannabis dispensaries and growers
- Oklahoma – all medical cannabis businesses
- Oregon– licensed medical cannabis retailers may continue to operate through curbside service (no official “essential industry” list exists for Oregon.)
- Pennsylvania – medical cannabis dispensaries may offer service through curbside pickup service
- Vermont – medical cannabis dispensaries
- Washington (State) – all licensed cannabis businesses may sell both medical and recreational products through curbside pickup service
These rules may change at any point so please confirm the same constraints are still in effect in your state before going to your local cannabis businesses.
Staying Safe and Well
So now that you know you can most likely continue to purchase your favorite product (supply-chain permitting), let’s talk about whether it’s safe for you to keep partaking.
What The Officials Say
The Executive Director of NORML, Erik Altieri, has a few thoughts. He recommends that everyone should “Avoid direct sharing and continually keep your personal collection clean, using 90%+ Isopropyl Alcohol is an effective and affordable way to clear any germs or pathogens off your pieces.”
Additionally, we should “practicing social distancing as much as is feasibly possible, and also staying indoors to the largest extent you can — especially if you are among those who are most vulnerable, such as elderly medical cannabis patients.”
Those of us who are mindful of the fact Coronavirus is a respiratory illness should also seek to limit our exposure to combustive smoke, which can stress or strain our lungs. Edibles, and tinctures, and other non-smoke-able consumption methods are recommended whenever possible.
“Oral consumption or topical application of cannabis is much safer than vaping and smoking during the COVID pandemic. Vaping dried flower might be safer than smoking, but this has not been proven. Until then, I strongly recommend patients refrain from inhaling any form of cannabis via vaping or smoking while COVID-19 is at high risk.”
While the advice certainly makes sense for 99% of consumers, what are people really doing?
What the TMCC Community Says
The TMCC Facebook community also had some recommendations for partaking safely during coronavirus quarantine, including:
Giving up cannabis altogether during the coronavirus epidemic as a tolerance break. Some TMCC members who are partaking recreationally are choosing to give up cannabis for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic as it is a respiratory illness and they want to optimize their lung health.
Smoking alone as a result of social distancing.
Smoking from their own devices, not sharing. Some TMCC members have given up the sharing-a-joint experience of cannabis while still enjoying cannabis together in the family, whether with partners and/or adult children.
Switching to edibles instead of smoking. Some TMCC members are protecting their lungs and their cannabis consumption by switching to edibles and/or tinctures.
Finding private spaces away from their children in order to continue to consume their medical cannabis, due to state laws prohibiting cannabis consumption around minors. As TMCC member Betsy Fox explains “I’m home with 3 young children (ages 9, 7, 5) and they are aware that I need to medicate and they’re not allowed to be with me when I do. We have a sun porch off our kitchen and that’s where I’ve taken to medicating because it’s quiet, smell proof … and has a shade on the window that I can draw so they know it’s Mommy-time.”
When cannabis is your medicine, you may not have the choice to stop your consumption because of the Corona virus. If you’re nervous or want more information specific to your needs, please consult your doctor.
How About You?
How Are YOU Modifying Your Cannabis Consumption Behaviors as a Result of COVID-19? The Medical Cannabis Community is teaming up with Aclara Research to survey members and discover how people’s consumption habits are changing during the midst of this unique pandemic. Take our survey, and we’ll enter you for a chance to win from a range of prize items from our online shop.