The COVID-19 pandemic has forced government officials to make life-or-death decisions about which goods and services are essential, and which are not.
In state after state, and province after province, regulators have declared medical marijuana essential. This is a watershed moment worth noting.
In California, New York, Washington, Illinois, Massachusetts, Colorado, Nevada, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, governors have closed non-essential businesses, but specifically allowed medical (and sometimes adult-use) cannabis dispensaries to remain open.
That’s a historic change.
From criminal to essential
Nearly a quarter-century ago, after California and Arizona passed the nation’s first statewide medical marijuana legalization laws, Clinton administration officials threatened to arrest any doctor who recommended the substance to a patient. Arizona lawmakers reacted by killing their own voter-passed initiative.