Applications for medical marijuana cards have spiked in Massachusetts with the closure of the state’s adult-use cannabis dispensaries that was ordered to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus. The increase in patient registrations comes after regulations that govern the medicinal cannabis program were relaxed in response to the outbreak.
When Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker ordered the closure of nonessential businesses in the state and issued a stay-at-home directive to residents last month, he said that medical marijuana dispensaries would be “treated for all intents and purposes the same way we treat healthcare operations” and allowed to remain open.
But that decision didn’t apply to the state’s recreational cannabis dispensaries, which were ordered to close along with other nonessential businesses on March 24 to help contain the spread of the virus. Baker cited the influx of traffic from neighboring states that do not have legal adult-use marijuana as the reason for the distinction. Cannabis dispensaries that sell both medical and recreational marijuana were directed to only serve registered patients.
To support social distancing measures, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) has modified some of the requirements to be certified as a medical marijuana patient, including allowing physicians to consult