This story was updated at 8am on March 30, 2020.The global concern over the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has many people taking precautions against contracting the virus. It’s also raising a lot of questions about weed, smoking, edibles, THC, CBD, and your health during this difficult time.We’ll continue to update this page as we learn more information. Here’s what we know about cannabis and COVID-19.

In the midst of the COVID-19 maelstrom, the recent shuttering of nonessential stores has created concern around access to cannabis, particularly for medicinal cannabis consumers. Those who depend on cannabis for therapeutic purposes will be relieved to learn that across the US, medical cannabis dispensaries have been deemed essential services, comparable to pharmacies.

The rapid global spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 affects every industry on the planet, legal cannabis included. Early reports indicate dispensaries and adult-use cannabis stores on the West Coast are seeing a mix of sales bumps, or sales slumps, depending on the level of local infection.

Add “global pandemic” to the list of challenges faced by the sputtering cannabis industry. The coronavirus COVID-19 is tearing across the U.S. economy. Businesses everywhere are making very difficult decisions. In many cases, those decisions are being made for them. As I write this post on the evening of Sunday, March 15, the Federal Reserve has slashed the federal funds rate to zero, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended cancellation of all events with 50 or more people, and a cascade of state and local governments have shuttered everything from schools to bars. All of that happened in the last few hours. By the time you are reading this, the crush of news will only have accelerated.

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a virus that emerged in late 2019 that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 is accompanied by a range of symptoms, with common signs of infection including respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Five days before Missouri’s first documented case of COVID-19 was confirmed, Missouri’s top cannabis program official told the News-Leader that medical weed dispensaries should be open for business in a few months. "I think possibly we would see a dispensary sometime in the summer, but I wouldn't pinpoint it beyond that," said medical marijuana director Lyndall Fraker at an industry conference in St. Louis on March 2. He said he would begin meeting with cannabis business license permit-winners a few days later to prepare them for the state inspection and compliance process.

A cheerful, smiling blond woman named Dee walked out of coffeeshop Nogal Wiedes in Amsterdam Centrum having purchased a gram of hash just before the government's new emergency measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic took effect. The policy was introduced at about 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, and included a mandate that all restaurants, bars, cafes, fitness centers, saunas, sex clubs, and coffeeshops close from 6 p.m. on Sunday through April 6.

This story was updated at 11:45am PDT on March 18, 2020. As governors and mayors across North America order the shutdown of bars, restaurants, and gathering events, cannabis stores are experiencing a dramatic surge in sales that started over the weekend and now continues into the work week. (Leafly has an updated page tracking store closures, openings, and new delivery allowances.)