After a two-month shutdown in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Massachusetts adult-use marijuana retail stores can once again serve customers starting May 25 – though sales will be limited to curbside pickup and online or telephone orders.
The announcement is a major development for cannabis store owners, who:
- Had worried they might not be allowed to reopen for a much longer period of time.
- Were losing money because of lost sales, ongoing rent payments and other business expenses while not being allowed to file for federal small business assistance. One estimate put the stores’ daily losses in sales at $2 million a day.
State officials announced the planned resumption of recreational sales on Monday, according to The Boston Globe.
Gov. Charlie Baker ordered all “nonessential” businesses, including adult-use retailers, to close March 24. His order was upheld in court.
Despite the rec store closures, medical marijuana dispensaries were allowed to continue sales, using curbside pickup to adhere to social-distancing guidelines between employees and customers. New medical marijuana registration numbers have surged by 245% since the adult-use store closures.
One of the reasons Baker gave for closing the recreational stores was concern about people traveling from other states to shop at Massachusetts stores, which are the only legal adult-use retailers in the region.
The reopening of Massachusetts cannabis retailers is part of the first phase of a four-phase plan, the Globe reported. Each phase likely will go a minimum of three weeks but could be extended depending on how the coronavirus pandemic plays out.
Before a business can reopen, it must complete a COVID-19 Control Plan and be able to present the document during an inspection.
Businesses that reopen in the first phase must also:
- Require workers to wear masks.
- Maintain social distancing.
- Sanitize areas that are frequently touched.
- Create a plan for staff members who contract the virus.
For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.