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San Francisco, California Dispensaries Considered Essential Businesses

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Following the shelter-in-place order that was announced in San Francisco, California on March 17, all dispensaries and cannabis delivery services in the city were ordered to be closed. Now, they are being reopened, as they are now deemed “emergency services” during this time of crisis.

“The Department of Public Health today clarified that since marijuana has medical uses, dispensaries will be allowed to operate as essential businesses just as pharmacies are allowed to do,” Mayor London Breed said during a news conference at City Hall on March 17, according to KTVU.

Initially, the Department of Public Health ordered all dispensaries in the city to close along, with other nonessential businesses. For at least three weeks, everyone in San Francisco is ordered to stay home. Businesses such as healthcare operations, construction of housing, grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, banks, garbage collection and many more are exempt from being shut down. Cannabis wasn’t originally counted among this list.

In order to reverse this decision, which many were opposed to, the San Francisco-based cannabis advocacy organization Cal NORML called for their dispensaries to reopen on the morning of March 17, pointing out that severely ill patients still need access to cannabis medicine and aren’t able to get it during this crisis. “SFDPH has reversed their position,” Supervisor Matt Haney said on Twitter in response to the reopening. He has shown support for dispensaries staying open before. “We know cannabis has medicinal value for so many people and should remain open. They’ll be open for delivery and pick up.

San Francisco is known for taking care of residents when there is a crisis. The city banned e-cigarettes when vaping sickness was a concern, and the city has also banned public smoking in order to promote health. City officials are taking necessary means to protect people during this crisis, but more importantly, still prioritizing cannabis for patients in need.