Due to the current state of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in the temporary closure of a myriad of businesses and the cancellation of countless events across the United States and other countries, San Francisco cannabis dispensaries and delivery services have been ordered to close up shop for the immediate future.
On Monday, March 16, Bay Area Health Officers announced a public health order, requiring residents to stay at home unless they need to leave to provide or receive essential services.
Violation of or failure to comply with the Stay at Home Order is considered a misdemeanor, which can be met with a fine, jail time, or both.
San Francisco Department of Public Health Principal Environmental Health Inspector Mohanned Malhi also issued a notice to dispensaries and delivery services, advising them that they would need to close their businesses beginning March 17, 2020.
Cannabis dispensaries and delivery services are not listed in the Stay at Home Order but are being considered non-essential businesses under Section 20.2.
“At this time, Cannabis Dispensaries and Cannabis Delivery Services are not considered an “Essential Business,” reads the notice. “All Cannabis Dispensaries and Cannabis Delivery Services permitted with the Department of Public Health under Article 33 are required to follow the Stay at Home Order.”
But the order has caused concern for patients who rely on essential cannabis medicines to treat medical conditions and maintain quality of life.
With the closure of legal cannabis shops and services, patients may be forced to turn to unlicensed sources to acquire their medicine, which some may already do, given the struggling state of California’s legal marijuana industry and the strong persistence of the state’s black market.