Illinois Cannabis Dispensaries to Remain Open During Shutdown

The Governor of Illinois announced that cannabis dispensaries have been classified as "essential" businesses and will remain exempt from the state's upcoming coronavirus lockdown.

The Governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, has announced that cannabis dispensaries will remain exempt from the "stay at home" executive order that will see businesses shuttered throughout the state.

The government order will introduce a host new restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus, including a ban on banning public gatherings of more than ten people, a shutdown of "non-essential" business and mandated social distancing.

Our top priority is to minimize the risk of and protect as many people from exposure to COVID-19. These steps prioritize that critical objective, while also ensuring medical patients have access to the medicine they need.

Illinois Government Senior Cannabis Advisor, Toi Hutchinson

Unfortunately, all other businesses—which are not considered essential—will be required to cease operating on public premises while shifting, if possible, to work from home arrangements.  

Illinois lawmakers have also loosened the sales restrictions governing medical cannabis, which is typically only available inside a designated area in a given dispensary.

Curbside delivery will now be available to licensed patients outside of cannabis stores, in an effort to enforce social distancing and more thorough sanitation practices. However, home delivery of cannabis will still remain banned.

According to the executive director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois, Pam Althoff, the trade group has not yet "discussed any further accommodations with regard to the coronavirus situation".

"We've been talking daily about what might happen as we anticipate worst-case scenarios, but all of those things are kind of a menu of options, and no one's pulled the trigger on any of them yet."

"We're trying to be extraordinary proactive, we're a highly regulated industry to begin with, we deal with medically fragile, vulnerable patients and we want to ensure that not only are we caring for our patients but we're also caring for our employees, many of whom are also patients themselves."

"If there's a concern, it's the same concern that most people are looking at," she said. "Ensuring that we have full staffing capabilities," she said.

Reports from the Illinois Department of Financial Protection show that at least eight dispensaries throughout the state have already elected to suspend recreational cannabis sales in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although this may seem worrying, many others have instead opted to increase their online ordering capacity, which should significantly trims down wait times. Dispensary owners believe this will assist in servicing the crowds of customers that have been arriving daily as coronavirus panic-buying sets in.  


This could be one of the best investing opportunities of 2020

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And with the sector-wide pullback of 2019, this company is now at a bargain-basement price.

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Hugo Gray
Hugo Gray

Hugo Gray is a Melbourne-based journalist with a body of work that covers a diverse range of topics, including immigration law, sex technology, and now the rapidly expanding cannabis industry.

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