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SF Cannabis Dispensaries All Shut Down — For Now — After City Hall Flip-Flop

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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.

“We had one of our biggest days ever yesterday” SPARC owner Erich Pearson told, “Delivery was up two times [normal business]. In-store pickup was up like 80%. Foot traffic in the stores in general was up.”

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.

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. 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.”

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.”

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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Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.


  1. Kevin L.
    April 20, 2020 at 7:22 am

    The Dutch government learned its lesson when they closed the ‘coffeeshops’ this past week.

    In ZERO MINUTES — after announcing closures and people lined-up 2 to 3 blocks to stock-up before that evening’s closure at 6:00 pm — POTENTIAL STREET DEALING HUSTLERS IMMEDIATELY PASSED OUT THEIR “BUSINESS CARDS” TO THOSE STANDING IN LINES IN CITIES THROUGHOUT THE NETHERLANDS !!!

    And I can tell you… those hustlers were not ‘model citizens’ !

    Monday morning the government called an emergency meeting after City Mayors were in a panic over STREET CRIMES AND DEALING.
    The closures were called-off. Shops are open, but only for ‘cash-n-carry’.

    The citizens in the Netherlands have been telling this to deaf ears in the government for years.
    Lesson Learned.
    Dispensaries + Coffeeshops HELP prevent illegal dealing.

  2. April 20, 2020 at 7:22 am

    Tried sharing this story on FB and they’re flagging it for some reason.