The Essentials of Being an "Essential" Service

What is an “essential service”? Who decides what is considered an essential service? What does it mean for businesses in your area?

One takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic is that most, if not all, Americans can agree on a basic concept of what industries and businesses to consider essential. The obvious answers are, of course, healthcare, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, and the like, as well as places such as grocery stores, gas stations, delivery services, and a few others. But what about industries where public health and well-being are the cornerstones of their operations, industries that might not fit into one of the aforementioned molds, industries like cannabis, hemp, and CBD?

Eight of the eleven states with recreational cannabis programs have deemed the operation of licensed cannabis businesses “essential services” amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This public declaration of the importance of cannabusiness is groundbreaking, allowing retailers in an otherwise volatile market a means of stability for their operations and employees. Cannabis has been deemed an “essential medicine” by many state governments, and licensed medical dispensaries have been permitted to ease some restrictions for shoppers, such as allowing curbside pickup of phone or online orders in Colorado (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/marijuana-dispensaries-in-some-states-deemed-an-essential-service-during-coronavirus-lockdowns/).

Paradoxically, despite the virus targeting respiratory systems, there has been an increase in smokable flower purchases nationwide. Please note, it is not necessary to “smoke” cannabis flower to receive its desired effects. While many still opt to “put it in [their] pipe and smoke it,” vaporization and consumption are being viewed as healthier alternatives to smoking by consumers at large. Dry herb vaporizers are becoming more commonplace, affording consumers the ability to vaporize cannabis flower containing the terpenes and cannabinoids without the toxic byproducts of combustion. Additionally, vaporization offers higher efficiency relative to combustion, reducing the amount required to achieve the desired effect (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4718604/). Another option is to turn the flower into edibles! In the next article, we’ll discuss ways to infuse your baked goods with cannabis, but for now, its best to practice with these simple recipes: https://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/easy-baking

Regardless of the consumption method, many consumers and governments alike have endorsed cannabis, and only time will tell how this virus affects the industry overall. For more information on how individual states are responding to the COVID-19 quarantine and how it may affect you, learn more here: https://connectednation.org/coronavirus/covid-19-response-by-state/