Cannabis dispensaries and delivery services in San Francisco will be allowed to continue operations during the region-wide shelter-in-place order, which went into effect on Tuesday, March 17.
Given the current state of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Public Health had ordered cannabis dispensaries and delivery services to close along with other businesses under the shelter-in-place order issued this week, designating them as non-essential.
The order sparked a backlash from cannabis producers, consumers, and others who argued that dispensaries and delivery services qualify as essential businesses and services for patients who depend on cannabis medicines to treat various medical conditions and improve their quality of life.
Dispensaries in the area also experienced a rush of customers looking to stock up on cannabis products on Monday before the order went into effect.
But the public outcry did not fall on deaf ears as the Department of Public Health reversed the order for cannabis dispensaries and delivery services on Tuesday afternoon, citing medicinal use.
“Cannabis is an essential medicine for many San Francisco residents,” tweeted the San Francisco Department of Public Health on Tuesday. “Dispensaries can continue to operate as essential businesses during this time, while practicing social distancing and other public health recommendations.”
The San Francisco Examiner reports that a message indicating that medical cannabis would be permitted but “recreational retailers are not an essential service” was in place on the City’s shelter-in place information page on Monday and Tuesday but has since been removed.
While dispensaries and delivery services will be permitted continue doing business, the Department of Public Health encourages patrons to maintain a distance of at least six feet apart from other customers.