How Will COVID-19 Affect Federal Marijuana policy? – BudDigest

As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the country and slammed on the breaks of the US economy, something fascinating has happened. After a century of demonization, suddenly marijuana is no longer being seen as a scourge but rather as a necessity. With the majority of US states with recreational marijuana programs declaring pot shops to be essential to public health and safety, it seems we’ve now entered either the Twilight Zone or the true beginning of the Golden Age of marijuana. It’s likely the latter.

Over the past six short weeks in the United States marijuana has gone from nuisance, essentially, to an essential necessity, and from a gateway drug to bona fide medicine.

Here’s how it happened and what it means for you.

How marijuana dispensaries were deemed essential businesses

As COVID-19 swept the nation, starting with San Francisco, California Gov. Gavin Newsom became the first US governor to close down all non-essential businesses. That includes shopping malls, gyms, restaurants and bars, and shops that sell non-essential items such as electronics.

Some of the businesses that have been deemed essential across the country include grocery stores, gas stations, hardware stores, and pharmacies. And, being considered pharmacies, medical marijuana dispensaries made the cut — for the most part.

That, in and of itself, is mind-bending.

But Gov. Newsom didn’t stop there. He also kept recreational dispensaries off the naughty list.

According to Newsom’s senior adviser, Nicole Elliott, the decision was partly based on making sure that medical marijuana patients got their medicine and partly based on not encouraging recreational users to go back to the black market.

In a statement on the topic, Elliott wrote, “Recognizing that patients need access to this medicine, as well as acknowledging the importance that consumers continue to be able to access legal cannabis made

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