Dispensaries Deemed 'Essential' in Coronavirus Shutdowns

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In a span of just a few years, marijuana has gone from an illegal substance to an "essential" product -- at least in three U.S. states. To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, San Francisco has issued "shelter in place" orders, allowing only "essential businesses" to stay open during the pandemic. A day after dispensaries were left off the list of these businesses, city leaders on Wednesday reversed their decision. "In terms of the cannabis dispensaries, the Department of Public Health clarified that since cannabis has medical uses, dispensaries will be allowed to operate as essential businesses, just as pharmacies are allowed to do," says San Francisco Mayor London Breed. Both New York and Illinois have expressed similar sentiments, deeming weed "essential" for their residents. A rep for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says "registered organizations in the state's medical marijuana program are essential medical providers and will be allowed to remain open." While Illinois has issued guidelines to "help reduce contact" between dispensary customers, state officials have indicated they have no intention of shuttering the stores. Do you think these states are making this exception to help medical marijuana users, or do they not want to lose a bunch of money?

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