We’re lucky enough to live in a time where technology and businesses are focused on convenience and are making social isolation due to the coronavirus a bit easier on the brain. Unfortunately, a lot of legislation (on all levels of government) is a bit behind the times, and it’s safe to say that it’s biting us in the ass hard at the moment as we struggle to both flatten the curve of the coronavirus and sustain the economy.
One such example is Colorado’s failure to implement permits allowing dispensaries to deliver cannabis to patrons who might not want or be able to leave their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This would be especially impactful to medical marijuana patients who use cannabis to manage symptoms on a daily basis. It is probably safe to say that as medical marijuana patients, many of these people probably fall into a high-risk category for coronavirus, making it dangerous for them to go out into the public during a pandemic.
“We see quite a few immuno-compromised patients, whether they’re taking steroids for an autoimmune disorder, they have cancer, or they’re just elderly. These are the same people coronavirus wants to attack,” Dr. Peter Pryor, a medical marijuana physician, told Westword earlier this month.
While Colorado lawmakers legalized commercial cannabis delivery back in 2019, its impact is not far reaching at the moment. According to Westword, the law only touches a few communities that willingly volunteered for a pilot program for medical marijuana deliveries only that was set to last for a year. By 2021, towns and counties across the state will have the option to allow marijuana delivery; however, communities can also choose to prohibit the practice if they see fit.
That process could be speeding up, though, thanks to the coronavirus. Native Roots Dandelion, a dispensary in Boulder, was given a permit earlier this month to start delivering cannabis to their undoubtedly relieved customers. The shop, which is part of one of the largest dispensary chains in Colorado, is the first in the state to receive a delivery license under this new law.
Because the city of Boulder had already passed a law that allowed marijuana delivery services, it was perfectly positioned to carry out the law in a time of need, Native Roots Director of Public Affairs Shannon Fender told Westword.
“The state rightly prioritized the medical patient community for cannabis delivery, many of whom suffer from illness, pain and mobility issues,” Fender said. “Boulder was incredibly forward-thinking when it passed legislation years ago permitting delivery to medical patients.”
In the meantime, while other municipalities hopefully play catch up, Gov. Jared Polis issued executive orders to temporarily allow for curbside delivery at dispensaries, as well as grant doctors the ability to remotely issue medical marijuana cards.
“As an emergency medicine doctor, I just figure I’m going to get this. But telemedicine could protect me from getting it, protect me from spreading it if I do get it, and protect my patients from getting it,” Pryor said.
As the cannabis industry grows and evolves, we’ll need more avenues to accommodate its needs. The cannabis industry has already made Colorado more than $6 billion in sales since being legalized. This industry is a significant part of Colorado’s economy, and getting ahead of the curve will prove especially important for the sake of those who depend on marijuana for medical purposes. Preferably before the next pandemic hits us.