Government officials across the country are quickly implementing a variety of regulations to staunch the coronavirus pandemic.
On March 17, for example, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a public health order to close bars, restaurants, gyms, theaters and casinos for 30 days in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Medical and retail marijuana stores that attract large numbers of customers will be receiving increased attention in the coming days and may also be ordered closed.
See more COVID-19 coverage in the May issue of Marijuana Venture.
In order to assist government officials and to responsibly serve individuals that depend on safe access to marijuana products, we encourage all medical and retail marijuana stores to adopt the following procedures immediately: [/themify_col]
– Transactions must be conducted in a way that provides for the recommended distancing of six feet between your patients/customers and staff.
– Reduce capacity limits in waiting rooms and sales areas — requiring employees, patients and customers to maintain a minimum six-foot separation — and do not allow lines to form.
– Cease extended budtender consult sessions with customers and do not allow customers to “smell/view” products.
– Increase store sanitization processes.
Here are some recommendations to help attain the above:
– Create visual markings on the floor (tape works great) to show patients/customers and employees six-foot distances and post signage to encourage.
– If available, encourage online reservations and pickup of product.
– Reduce waiting room capacity and eliminate lines through “deli counter” ticket systems or use online reservation/paging applications to allow customers to wait in their car until called.
– Update training and sanitization efforts to include regular hand-washing breaks and increased use of gloves; post gloved employees at entrance and exit doors to open and close entrances and exits; require symptomatic or exposed employees to stay home; and sanitize common area surfaces multiple times per day.
– Ensure hand sanitizer is available for employees, patients and customers.
Safe access to marijuana is a necessity for many patients. These individuals have come to depend on access to marijuana through both medical and retail stores. As such, it is imperative that we as an industry do all we can to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Steven Levine is a partner in Husch Blackwell’s Denver office, where he leads the firm’s national cannabis, marijuana and CBD and industrial hemp practices. Marshall Custer is a Denver-based partner with Husch Blackwell LLP, focusing on cannabis and marijuana law. Meghan Brennan is an attorney in Husch Blackwell LLP’s Denver office and assists clients on cannabis and marijuana issues.