Food & Drink Emily Carpenter/Thrillist
In recent weeks, COVID-19 has fueled nationwide panic-buying, forcing Americans to figure out what’s essential to them. Items like toilet paper and disinfecting wipes have inadvertently become extremely valuable (and potentially our new form of currency), but there’s another commodity at the top of the list: cannabis.
Unsurprisingly, marijuana consumers have been remarkably more chill than hand sanitizer hoarders in LA. Jackie, a co-manager at Studio City dispensary WHTC, said: “People seem to still be buying the same things as always, just maybe in slightly larger quantities.”
Hours between each other, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Gavin Nesom signed “safer at home” and “shelter in place” executive orders on March 19. Both offered a slate of essential businesses that could stay open and, to the shock of some, cannabis retailers made both lists.
Across the nation, states are taking different approaches and definitions of “essential.” Oregon and Michigan dispensaries are open for curbside business only; Colorado and Illinois shops are open in general while Denver and select Illinois dispensaries move to medical customers only; and Massachusetts is only allowing medical marijuana customers to shop.
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A couple of days prior to the orders, WHTC announced it had received permission from the Bureau of Cannabis Control to run a curbside pickup operation. From that point on, no customers have entered the building. All staff members periodically sanitize, wear gloves, and now wear two masks: an N95 and a cloth mask over that to help them avoid touching their face.
Several other dispensaries have followed suit with similar adaptations, from smaller outfits like LA’s Cornerstone Wellness