Colorado Marijuana Dispensaries Deemed Critical, Remain Open

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

On Sunday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced that recreational marijuana dispensaries in the state must convert to online pre-orders and curbside pickup until at least April 10.

In-person sales will be allowed at medical marijuana dispensaries as long as they maintain appropriate social distancing, although the governor encouraged MMJ stores to do curbside pickup as well.

“I temporarily suspend the prohibition on retail marijuana store online sales…to facilitate pick up by consumers twenty-one years of age and older in a manner consistent with social-distancing guidelines,” according to Polis’s executive order.

Gov. Polis deemed marijuana dispensaries “critical” retail businesses. Still, on Monday, Denver’s Mayor Michael Hancock issued a “stay at home” order for the city and deemed recreational marijuana dispensaries and liquor stores non-essential. Several hours later, Denver officials walked back the decision after Denverites rushed to stores to stock up.

Polis’s executive order will also allow physicians to recommend medical marijuana cards through telemedicine appointments.

“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,” medical marijuana physician Dr. Peter Pryor told Westword. “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.”

Online ordering will help limit person-to-person exposure, but some would like the governor to take it a step further and allow marijuana deliveries. Truman Bradley, president of the Marijuana Industry Group, told The Denver Post that Colorado already allows medical marijuana deliveries, but so far, only one delivery license has been issued in the state.

“We’ve already got the legal infrastructure that allows for this, so all it requires are these local municipalities to allow for delivery during times of crisis, and they can come back and revisit it,” Cindy Sovine, a marijuana advocate and consultant told The Denver Post. “That is the safest pathway to keep access open.”