Cannabis and Coronavirus: Impact on Medical Cannabis Industries in Three States
Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, DEPC Student Paper Series, No. 24, August 2020
12 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2020
Date Written: September 9, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic, while detrimental to the American economy as a whole, positively impacted the cannabis industry in many ways. This paper examines how the pandemic changed the medical cannabis industries in three states where medical cannabis programs were recently implemented -- Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. In all three states, cannabis dispensaries were declared essential businesses and have remained in operation throughout the pandemic. Due to the necessities of social distancing and minimizing contact, the medical cannabis programs in these states implemented new, innovative measures such curbside pickup, online ordering technology, drive-thru windows, delivery systems, and telehealth consultations. Additionally, some states loosened restrictions on supply limits and caregiver registration, making medical cannabis more accessible to patients. This paper suggests that many of these changes should remain permanent after the pandemic ends because they have modernized and, in some cases, legitimized, the cannabis industries in these states.
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, cannabis industry, medical marijuana, curbside pickup, telehealth, cannabis delivery, regulatory changes
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