SF Cannabis Dispensaries All Shut Down — For Now — After City Hall Flip-Flop
Long lines and mass confusion gripped San Francisco marijuana dispensaries on Monday, after Mayor London Breed announced the coronavirus shelter in place order that shut down many SF businesses and brought the city to a halt. Even though dispensaries were mobbed, it all initially seemed for naught — the original order issued by Mayor Breed had cannabis dispensaries under the impressions that they were exempt, and could still sell medicinal marijuana. But at 6:31 p.m. Monday night, the San Francisco Department of Public Health issued an order to shut down all cannabis dispensaries, and those people in line were the last ones able to buy weed for the foreseeable future.
Huge lines for weed in the Mission. Even legalization day was shorter than this. pic.twitter.com/cuPyNKEW15
— Kevin Montgomery (@kevinmonty) March 17, 2020
“We had one of our biggest days ever yesterday” SPARC owner Erich Pearson told BrokeAssStuart.com, “Delivery was up two times [normal business]. In-store pickup was up like 80%. Foot traffic in the stores in general was up.”
Line for the dispensary on my block is insane ? (and it’s the worst dispensary ever too) pic.twitter.com/BeiyE4ivKA
— lauren ⚪️ (@laurenoffwhite) March 17, 2020
Up until late yesterday afternoon, all dispensaries thought they could stay open throughout the shelter in place period, because the original SF DPH order had exceptions for pharmacies, convenience stores, and delivery services. “Everyone else must stay home except to fulfill essential functions such as getting food, caring for a relative or friend, getting necessary health care or going to work if their job is an essential service,” the order read. That seemed to cover medical marijuana delivery services.
— Brynne Henn (@morebrynne) March 16, 2020
But the Department of Public Health shot that down with a 6:31 p.m. email, sent after some dispensaries had already announced they would stay open. BrokeAssStuart.com has obtained a copy of that email sent to dispensaries, which reads: “At this time, Cannabis Dispensaries and Cannabis Delivery Services are not considered an ‘Essential Business’. All Cannabis Dispensaries and Cannabis Delivery Services permitted with the Department of Public Health under Article 33 are required to follow the Stay at Home Order. You will need to close your business starting March 17, 2020. You will be notified of any future updates or information immediately.”
— Roan Kattouw (@catrope) March 16, 2020
Statewide cannabis operators are already lobbying Gavin Newsom for an exemption. “Like pharmacies that provide medicinal and therapeutic products to millions of Californians, licensed cannabis dispensaries should not be included in any future guidance or order to shut down,” dispensary owners said in a letter to Gavin Newsom, obtained by Marijuana Retail Report. “At a time that so many of our citizens need the products available through dispensaries to weather this pandemic, our continued availability to them is essential to their health and well-being.”
Cannabis dispensaries should be able to stay open, for take out and delivery only, while keeping 6 feet of distance between customers. Yes it is legal for adult use in CA, it's also still medicine for a lot of people.
— Matt Haney (@MattHaneySF) March 17, 2020
Supervisor Matt Haney has taken up the charge, and tells us the city may be able to get the order changed as early as sometime today (Tuesday). The order even says that “It was important to get this Order in place quickly given the spread of the virus in the Bay Area. However, it can and will likely be updated as conditions warrant.”
So that change may come soon, possibly today. And we’ll stay on high alert to provide you witn any updates on when the dispensaries and delivery services are open again.
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