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Cannabis retailers in Washington deemed essential as state locks down

Last Updated Mar 24, 2020 at 7:40 pm PDT

Summary

The state liquor and cannabis board is sending guidance on how shops can operate given social distancing guidance

Shops will be able to expand curbside pickup, if they meet certain requirements

Medical cannabis patients were previously allowed to pick up in the parking lot due to the pandemic

OLYMPIA, Wash. (NEWS 1130) – Health care workers, police officers, farmers, and retail cannabis employees – all are among the nearly 14-pages of jobs deemed essential in Washington state after the governor ordered non-essential businesses to close and for people to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) writes that retailers, distributors, and producers can keep the lights on during the provisional two-week lock down.

But just keeping the doors open for retail shops could present issues – earlier, the WSLCB mandated that only a certain number of customers may be inside a shop at any given time. That guidance is still in place in order to maintain social distancing requirements.

RELATED ARTICLE: What is social distancing and why is it important in the fight against COVID-19?

Now, as Governor Jay Inslee implores Washingtonians to keep six feet apart, cannabis retailers have a new way to get their product to the public.

“Our intent is to allow additional ways for you to engage your customers without having to have your doors open for business,” the agency writes, saying that adults will now be able to pick up cannabis in the parking lot, if certain guidelines are met.

But like all things in the regulated cannabis world, there are a myriad of restrictions: no drive-thru windows, ID’s must be checked and everyone in the car has to be 21, and the sales area has to be stationary on the property.

The board earlier allowed medical patients greater access to what they’re calling “curbside pickup” to try and limit interactions between employees and patients.

Meantime, BC has relaxed some rules about alcohol delivery. BC Liquor Stores remain open during the pandemic.