California relaxes cannabis, alcohol sales rules due to the coronavirus

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The Golden State will allow certain dispensaries and restaurants to continue operating during a shelter-in-place order

While some states are reacting to the coronavirus pandemic by closing most business and restricting adult-use of cannabis, California is taking a softer approach for its anxious residents and will allow them to have access to cannabis and alcohol. Following up on orders from authorities regarding regulations to temporarily halt operations, the restrictions on cannabis dispensaries, as well as restaurants in the alcohol business, are being lifted. The goal is to allow these businesses to help with the impact of a shelter-in-place order that was issued previously, and that is drowning the country in what is seen as the biggest financial crisis since the Great Recession.

Governor Gavin Newson has been a supporter of cannabis legalization ever since he was campaigning; even other state authorities had contributed with capital to put this experiment in place. The cannabis industry has been struggling for the last year anyway due to heavy regulations and high taxes that motivate residents to look for the illegal market; however, the relaxed approach issued by Newson will change this.
Since the first orders were given following up the declaration of a public health emergency, the cannabis shops have been granted permission to deliver their products to customers parked in the store’s parking lot or even to make home deliveries without the usually required signatures. Customers also have the option of texting a photo or their identification to the dispensary.

“I submitted the application over a weekend and had it by the end of the day Monday,” said Pamela Epstein, general counsel for Eden Enterprises. She applied for a waiver for customers to call ahead and pick up without going into the shop. “If you were to cut off legal, safe, compliant access right now, you would be driving consumers to illegal access,” she added after taking the governor’s effort to declare this as an essential industry.