On March 19th, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order requiring all residents to stay at home and for all non-essential businesses to close in response to the spreading COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic across the country. Bars, shopping malls, and gyms were among the businesses that were ordered to close, while gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, and hardware stores were allowed to remain open. Under the order, cannabis businesses were considered essential services, and with many residents staying at home, many have ordered cannabis in order to pass the time.
San Francisco-based delivery platform Eaze reported more than double the number of first-time orders following the mandate. Oakland-based delivery service Blaze Delivery also reported a surge in first time orders and an increase in order quantities from existing customers, as residents confined to their homes and others finding their work hours reduced or placed on hold, requested cannabis deliveries to their homes.
Delivery services have surged as well as some cities like San Jose have decided to close retail dispensaries, essentially preventing recreational consumers from purchasing cannabis within a store, although medical customers are still allows to purchase over the counter. Many cannabis advocates are concerned that the move sets a dangerous precedent in the state, declaring the change in policy to be “illegal” and “misguided”, by limiting access to cannabis as an essential healthcare service.
San Francisco dispensaries were closed for one day following the state mandate, when the city declared cannabis businesses to be non-essential services, but that position was reversed just a day later, with Mayor London Breed stating, “Cannabis is an needed medicine for many San Franciscans and dispensaries are allowed to continue operating.”