As the novel Coronavirus keeps the world in a perpetual state of fear and uncertainty, Massachusetts has registered an upsurge in the number of people seeking medical marijuana cards. This has been a consistent theme in most states that allow medical marijuana, with both medical and recreational marijuana stores experiencing increased demand.
COVID-19 first appeared in Wuhan, China in late 2019 and three months later has infected over 1.3 million individuals and claimed at least 73,000 lives. The U.S. has become the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic with over 360,000 infections and 10,764 deaths. Understandably, most of the country has gone into lockdown, with people encouraged to stay indoors, and all but the most essential businesses are to shut down for the time being.
In many states, this included marijuana businesses. States like Colorado have even taken extra steps like allowing curbside pickups and home deliveries to keep employees and patients safe. And most of these states registered increased demand for marijuana, which many use to help with a variety of conditions including anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.
According to the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), there were 1,300 new medical marijuana patients registered in Massachusetts between March 23 and April 1, compared to the 500 just 10 days prior. While some states designated both recreational and medical marijuana as essential, Massachusetts doesn’t allow recreational marijuana sales during the pandemic.
Before patients can apply for a medical marijuana card online, they must get a recommendation from a state-certified physician. And in accordance with social distancing directives, the CCC recently revised some of its rules temporarily to allow medical practitioners to certify new patients using telehealth. To be eligible, you must have a qualifying medical condition such as HIV or Parkinson’s disease.
According to marijuana store owners, a lot of their recreational marijuana customers use cannabis to treat severe anxiety and PTSD, and they hoped Governor Charlie Baker would classify them as essential. However, these hopes were dashed when the governor stated that classifying recreational cannabis stores as essential would create problems for the state.
“If we make recreational marijuana available, we are going to have to deal with the fact that people are going to come here from all over the place, across the Northeast and create problems for us with respect to the fundamental issue we are trying to solve here, which is to stop the spread. And for that reason and that reason alone, I think this is just a non-starter with us,” he said during a press conference.
Experts see the situation in Massachusetts as an eye-opener for marijuana companies like The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) to learn that not all customers who buy from recreational cannabis outlets are doing so for purely recreational reasons.
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