Washington State cannabis retailers may remain open amid the coronavirus outbreak and response after regulators announced rules for the cannabis and alcohol industries on Tuesday. Retailers may provide “curbside service” to customers and patients but drive-through windows are not permitted.
“At this time, cannabis retailers are not required to close due to the coronavirus restrictions. However, to promote social distancing for qualified patients, the [Liquor and Cannabis Board] is temporarily allowing cannabis retailers to sell to qualifying patients or their designated providers outside of their business but within the licensed property line. This is the same allowance provided to approved alcohol licensees during this time.” – LCB press release, Mar. 17, 2020
The guidance comes as the nation grapples with the coronavirus outbreak. Washington has more than 1,000 identified cases and Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed an emergency declaration on Monday limiting gatherings to less than 50 people.
Adam Hamide, co-owner of Main Street Marijuana, which has two Clark County locations, told the Columbian that the average number of items purchased per customer has risen about 50 percent in the last week. A Headset report on Monday found sales in the state were up 23 percent last Friday, 14 percent on Saturday, and 33 percent on Sunday over the week prior.
Dispensaries in San Francisco, California were also spared from closing amid the pandemic which forced the city to issue a shelter in place order.
Washington’s LCB added that while it “does not have the authority to waive taxes, fees, and penalties,” the agency “is actively exploring deferment of taxes and fees to ease the payment obligations on licensees that sell alcohol or cannabis.”