Last updated: Mar 31, 2020 | USA
PUBLISHED : 31 Mar 2020 - 11:36
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.
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Breaking news on marijuana and coronavirus
The coronavirus has disrupted cannabis commerce across North America, triggering runs on stores, closures, and the adoption of curbside pickup, and delivery ordering. SARS-CoV-2 is canceling most 420 events, and changing personal behavior away from sharing joints and pipes.
How are we doing so far?
Bad. America has tens of thousands of infections, and several hundred deaths—with many more to come. The first wave is expected to peak in April, May, or June, depending on local conditions. Check out the United States’ trajectory on the latest graph:
The National Governors Association has a roundup of actions taken in each state, updated daily. The most reliable information sources right now are state health agencies in Washington, New York, and California, which are on the leading edge of the outbreak and mitigation strategies.
COVID-19 health and safety orders
Can cannabis or CBD prevent or cure COVID-19?
No. Just flat-out no.
Given the general hype around CBD, we’re already hearing outlandish claims about its effect on coronavirus, most likely spread via social media. These claims are not true. There is no solid research on CBD and coronavirus. Or cannabis and coronavirus.
Dispensary news amid COVID-19
Are stores and dispensaries open during COVID-19?
Most states have designated medical marijuana dispensaries as essential parts of the health care system, and so have remained open. Some states have shut down adult-use sales while allowing medical sales. Others allow only delivery, or curbside pickup.
Openings, Closings, and Re-openings
Buying, using, and selling cannabis amid COVID-19
Buying cannabis – best practices right now
Note: The definition of “area with ongoing spread” changes practically by the hour, and this item on the symptom list is becoming less important as the virus is recognized as extant in local communities.
Check yourself with this flow chart
Illustrator Wendy MacNaughton teamed up with UCSD infectious disease expert Eliah Aranoff-Spencer to create this updated guide, published on Medium.
Have a self-quarantine plan
At this point we’re talking about a spectrum, from choosing a work-at-home option (if you’re fortunate enough to have that choice) to a full-on home quarantine. The CDC has a page of recommendations for those who stay home with a suspected case of COVID-19.
What if you’ve been in close contact with someone with COVID-19? Stay inside and closely monitor yourself for 14 days.
Someone in my house has it. What now? Viral load matters. That means the fewer viral droplets that enter your system, the milder the severity of your case may be. So if a member of your household contracts the virus, it’s imperative that they separate from others in a quarantine room.
Is it safe to sell cannabis amid COVID-19?
Cannabis business operators must consult their county public health guidance, as well as state, federal and World Health Organization guidance to ensure sanitary operations.
Sanitation measures include paid sick leave for ill workers, staying home with a fever, use of gloves, hand-washing, covering coughs and sneezes, physical distancing of staff and patrons, heightened cleaning and disinfecting, separate money handlers, and much more.
Why are we doing this? Isn’t everyone eventually going to get it?
The point isn’t to seal up the virus in a jar, or halt it at our borders. That moment has passed. What we’re all working to do now is make sure the infections don’t all hit at once and overwhelm our limited medical supplies and hospital capacity.
If 100 people require a hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, and the ICU can only handle 15 at a time, 85 people may die needlessly. If the infections in those 100 people are spread out over many weeks and months, though, we can get most of them through this alive.
The Washington Post has one of the best visual explanations of why we’re all working to flatten the curve:
COVID-19’s effect on cannabis product supplies
Because all legal cannabis products are produced within the state in which they’re sold, industry experts aren’t expecting a shortage of actual cannabis due to import slowdowns.
That’s not to say there won’t be shortages or supply interruptions in certain products. Most vape batteries and wholesale vape cartridges are manufactured in China. Those supply chains have already seen slowdowns and interruptions due to quarantines impacting the Chinese manufacturing sector.
The US imports about 30 million Chinese vape pens and cartridges every month. Most shipments stopped due to the annual Chinese New Year shutdown in mid-January and haven’t fully resumed due to the coronavirus.
Will COVID-19 impact 4/20 events?
The answer is yes. Organizers of 4/20 celebrations, which are now less than five weeks away, are already considering how a wider outbreak of COVID-19 could impact their events. Some have begun postponements or cancellations. We’re tracking major events and cancelations at The best 4/20 events of North America 2020.
One cannabis store manager told Leafly he was putting a food truck ordered for 4/20 on hold because of health concerns. 4/20 festivals were already changing and evolving due to the expansion of legalization. The coronavirus outbreak may further accelerate that change in ways that are hard to predict right now.
What about legalization campaigns?
Depending on how long the COVID-19 social distancing era lasts, we may see more cancellations of larger events, gatherings, and festivals moving into summer. Larger-scale shopping malls and commercial districts may see a downturn in pedestrian traffic. That may affect the ability of signature gatherers to bank enough names to qualify legalization initiatives by a given deadline.
Leafly’s Election 2020 page has a full rundown of all the state legalization campaigns currently aiming at the November 2020 ballot.
Cannabis and self-isolation
Start do it yourself projects, as well as enjoy some stoner entertainment to improve your mood.
Here is 5 reasons why it’s the perfect time to start growing cannabis. Here’s how to germinate seeds and start an indoor garden.
Also, whip up some cannabutter to turn smokeables into edibles.
Stoner entertainment for self-isolation
You’re inside, you’re bored, we get it. Try these on for size: