Massachusetts cannabis dispensaries, advocates, and enthusiasts are urging the Governor and legislators to reclassify recreational cannabis stores as "essential businesses", thus, allowing them to open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This plea by all in the state's recreational cannabis businesses is coming after Governor Charlie Baker ordered all businesses deemed "non-essential" to close up or work remotely. While liquor stores and medical cannabis dispensaries were deemed essential businesses, recreational or adult-use cannabis dispensaries were classified as non-essential by the governor.
The closure of these recreational cannabis stores during this time has had a devastating effect on the sale of cannabis in general. According to the president of NETA (New England Treatment Access), Amanda Rositano, limiting the sale of cannabis products to medical dispensaries alone has led to an 80% drop in the total number of customers, thereby leading to a massive reduction in sales.
To further elaborate on this, Rositano stated; "access to the adult side of cannabis is incredibly important". Rositano further revealed that there are folks who need constant relief yet can't register with the medical program. "We think that it is important that these folks not be left out of the equation" Rositano added.
While still speaking on this issue, Rositano told the press NETA estimates that more than half of the recreational cannabis users purchase and consume them for relief from various symptoms though not officially registered as medical cannabis patients.
Responding to the plea of cannabis businesses in the state, ten (10) state representatives along with prominent state senators Sonia Chang-Diaz and Nick Collins asked the governor to reconsider his stance on recreational cannabis.
These state representatives argued that regulations were made before the issuing of licenses to these Massachusetts cannabis dispensaries to treat them as they would treat liquor stores. In line with these regulations, these representatives believe that recreational cannabis should be classified as essential businesses along with pharmacies, liquor stores, and medical cannabis dispensaries.