In designating California’s marijuana industry as essential under the state’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order, the administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom has argued that the health benefits of keeping pot shops open outweigh the risks — even as opponents of the policy call it reckless.
Critics say it doesn’t make sense to allow people to congregate at cannabis stores, increasing the chance of infection, so they can buy products that are smoked at a time when the virus is attacking respiratory systems.
Other states have restricted sales to those for medical needs or to deliveries, seeking to limit cannabis store crowds at a time when residents are being told to stay in their homes and practice social distancing.
But in his March 19 statewide order shuttering most businesses and directing residents to remain at home, Newsom exempted those deemed by the state public health officer to be “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers,” who “protect health and well-being of all Californians.”
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