Cannabis dispensaries listed as essential businesses under L.A. County coronavirus order

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Marijuana is shown in this undated file photo. (Credit: (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Marijuana is shown in this undated file photo. (Credit: (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

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The “safer at home” emergency order just announced by Los Angeles County and the cities within its borders at a Thursday evening news conference requires all indoor malls, shopping centers, playgrounds and nonessential retail businesses to close effective midnight tonight through at least April 19. Allowed to operate — as long as they observe proper social-distancing guidelines and do not include more than 10 people in one place — are a list of essential services including city and county government services, grocery stores, hardware stores and, wait for it, cannabis dispensaries.

Unlike the confusion surrounding cannabis businesses in the Bay Area “shelter in place” order that was announced Monday (which had dispensaries closing only to open the next day after a handful of cities — including San Francisco and San Jose — clarified that they could remain open), the city of Los Angeles’ coronavirus FAQ lists as essential healthcare services “cannabis dispensaries, or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services.”

The actual order issued by the county of Los Angeles reads slightly differently, noting that the order does not apply to healthcare organizations including “cannabis dispensaries with a medicinal cannabis license,” though at the news conference announcing the order, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said (though not in reference to this particular issue) that the cities and the county had worked hard to ensure that the details of the order were not in conflict.

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