5 min read

What It’s Like for Cannabis Dispensary Staff During Coronavirus?

May 4, 2020

While millions of Americans are either isolated or quarantined to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, there are men and women out there working to help people provide basic necessities. Amongst these are cannabis dispensary staff who help provide people with cannabis products. This is perhaps possible because most states in the U.S. have deemed marijuana businesses essential. In other words, dispensaries will remain open during the lockdown, and patients with a medical marijuana card can purchase the medicine they need to alleviate their symptoms.

However, safety is one of the major concerns that everyone including marijuana dispensaries needs to adopt in these crucial times. Most dispensaries are training their staff for pickup protocol and others are ensuring complete hygiene. All in all, the pandemic has caused everyone to be extra cautious and careful. 

For employees on the ground and in the field, this pandemic requires adapting and reforming methods for servicing customers safely. After all, there are more than one million affected coronavirus patients in the U.S. as of now.

Scene Inside Marijuana Dispensaries

When the pandemic started to spread quickly and stay-at-home orders were put in place, cannabis dispensary sales skyrocketed. People were binge buying marijuana and most dispensaries went from being busy to struggling to keep up with the amount of orders. 

The biggest change was seen in the initial weeks when online ordering platforms were inundated with an influx of traffic and orders. Although cannabis dispensary walk-ins are still allowed, many businesses are encouraging ordering from home to stop the spread of the virus. 

For people who walk up to a cannabis dispensary to purchase products, the staff must ensure that people stand six feet apart from each other and squares have been taped off to ensure social distancing. In fact, many on-duty staff members wear gloves and change into a fresh pair of gloves between transactions.

Additionally, hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed around the store. In case there is accidental contact with the customer, the hand sanitizer serves as a backup and provides relief from the fear of contracting the virus.

Some stores have installed plexiglass as a barrier between the working staff and the public who walks into the store to purchase cannabis. These windows help keep any kind of cough or sneeze droplets from coming in direct contact with employees. However now customers have to speak a little louder when speaking to the sales staff. 

Also, due to the fear of cross-contamination, no one is allowed to sniff the strains. All employees wear gloves and will often ask customers to drop their cash directly in a cash bag. This is the corona-era and every tiny precautionary measure ensures the safety of the employees and the customers. 

Curbside Pick-Ups Have Surged

COVID-19 has also caused the rise of curb-side pickups. Employees are given guidelines to safely deliver cannabis to customers in their cars without them actually entering the store. The main reason being that most dispensaries have limited the number of people inside the store and the cleaning staff is constantly cleaning the place. 

The curbside delivery team is gloved and masked all the time to deliver the product directly to the customer. Not only this, but curbside deliveries help ease the minds of both the customers and employees knowing there is limited contact during their shopping experience. 

How Does it Work?

People who want to purchase cannabis can phone-in to their local cannabis dispensary or place an order online. This also helps ensure that their staff and customers are following the protocol of social distancing. Once a customer places an online order they will receive a text as soon as the order is ready. After receiving the text, consumers can drive to the cannabis dispensary to pick-up curbside. Some dispensaries have implemented home delivery so consumers never have to leave the comfort of their own home.

For curbside pickup, cannabis dispensary staff will walk up to your vehicle with the package wearing gloves and a mask. And after thorough verification by checking your age the package will be given to you and you can pay the employee with cash or sometimes even a debit card.

Also, please take note that the staff members receive guidelines regarding cash and cashless transactions. Most of the staff is advised to handle customer transactions with sensitivity keeping in mind how the customer wants to pay. 

There are a number of customers who want to maintain social distance even while receiving the package. For instance, some have made accommodations to take the package without having to touch it. These precautions are appreciated by consumers because it helps both the staff and customers maintain limited contact.

Final Thoughts

Dispensaries have never seen so many online orders as consumers are buying frantically after receiving their stimulus check. Cannabis dispensary staff is doing their best to keep up with the increase in volume and have developed new protocols to streamline the process.

Fortunately state and local officials have deemed dispensaries as essential and even though sniffing bud is not allowed, consumers still have the opportunity to purchase the products they need. It is so important to remain vigilant during this time because even a tiny droplet from the wrong nose can contaminate everything inside a dispensary. Even worse it could put the customers and staff in danger of infection which could have serious implications to your business and especially their health.


Contributed by Sean Robets