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Considered Essential? Cannabis Amidst The COVID-19 Crisis

Re-posted from The Cannabis Life Network

The global outbreak of COVID-19 has changed the face of the world as we know it but thankfully, there is a bit of good news amidst the crisis. With bigger problems to focus on, Governments around the world are taking a much more reasonable approach towards cannabis regulation. Several different US states, including some that have declared a state of emergency, have also declared dispensaries to be essential businesses. How this will affect Canada remains to be seen…

What? They changed their minds!

Officials in California had originally ordered all dispensaries and cannabis delivery services to close. However within one day, regulators changed their position, recognizing cannabis as an essential medicine. Why? According to San Francisco Mayor, London N. Breed, “In terms of the cannabis dispensaries, the Department of Public Health today clarified that since cannabis has medical uses, dispensaries will be allowed to operate as essential businesses, just as pharmacies are allowed to do.” Considering the current situation and effect that cannabis has in treating anxiety, depression and PTSD, this is a wise move. There are much greater concerns and immediate risks to the public’s safety. At this point, 33 of the US states that have legalized medical cannabis have allowed cannabis businesses to remain open and operating, even if they previously said otherwise.  

The Impact to Legislation

Both immediate and long-term, the positive impacts of this decision will hopefully be echoed in the future approach to cannabis legislation. With a global pandemic to deal with, there is no time to waste valuable resources. There is a limited amount of the supplies needed to fight this pandemic, including time and energy. To avoid a catastrophic outbreak, we have to act quickly and stay ahead of this situation. 

The Community Safety Unit, tasked with the enforcement of the Cannabis Act, can finally be put to good use and truly protect the public. Our tax dollars can now pay a CSU Officer to help with preventing this pandemic; instead of hunting for pot cookies. In this situation, the Government has no other choice. Regardless, to recognise that cannabis is an essential medicine, during such a serious health crisis, sends a sensible message; one that is hard to forget. It’s a refreshing approach to see in the US, at a time much needed; let’s hope that this mentality continues and spreads up to our Canadian politicians. 

The Impact to Life

If Canada chooses to follow the same route as the US, cannabis compassion clubs and delivery services will be able to operate, instantly taking a giant load of stress off of the medical patients who depend on them. Desperation and panic will subside, giving medical patients the ability to focus all their energy on staying healthy at home. In general, people will be less likely to break their self-isolation to go pick up some chronic, risking exposure; especially those most at risk, such as medical patients. If everyone in the world just chilled out, stress free in their home, this threat would be gone in a couple of weeks. If we all get ordered to stay in our homes but still have access to weed, the cannabis community will happily comply. 

Cannabis Businesses: Bombing & Booming

The economy is feeling the effects of the coronavirus and Licensed Producers are no exception. Companies like Tilray have watched their shares plummet, resulting in cut costs and layoffs. On the other side, for the grass roots, business is booming. Why? Many reasons! 

First and foremost, the public wants pot and with a situation like this, people are trying to stock up. Secondly, The majority of conducted operations dont happen face to face, making a quick trip or online dispensary more appealing during a pandemic. Really though, it’s all about what’s available there, that you can’t get elsewhere, variety. Think about it this way; If you get sick with a respiratory virus, the idea of smoking a joint is as unappealing as it is irritating. But, a capsule or high dose edible that you only have to take a bite of, presents a different matter; especially for those too sick to eat. When the Government, in ignorance, only allows a maximum THC dose of ten milligrams, there is little choice but to turn to those who know better; thus, it’s no surprise that the grey market is busy. 

The war on drugs seems to have been put on hold as real danger threatens all of us. If there was ever a time that we need our laws to be current, based on science and civilly useful, it’s right now; it appears that US lawmakers would agree. Let’s hope that Canada follows this approach.

Julia Veintrop
From an early age, Julia displayed a passion for writing and languages, a fascination with journalism and an amazing memory. Her career focus had been gaining skills and experience in many different fields of counselling. Her ambition to have a career as medical general practitioner was interrupted when she became very ill from cervical cancer and the procedures necessary to remove it, beginning almost seven years of severe medical issues. Using the written word as an avenue of release and feeling the miraculous benefits of cannabis first-hand, she developed her skills throughout her illness and shifted her focus to cannabis from the patient perspective. Today, she devotes her life to a cause she truly enjoys, cannabis activism, so that no one need suffer unnecessarily due to lack of education or access.