Amid a global pandemic that has changed the way we interact and live, the state of Illinois will allow medical marijuana dispensaries to conduct curbside sales for the duration of the month.
The new rules were announced this week by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation as part of the state’s efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. “The guidelines will permit the dispensary to sell medical cannabis on the dispensary’s property or on a public walkway or curb adjacent to the dispensary. Medical cannabis patients will be able to continue to utilize their designated caregiver to purchase medicine for them,” the agency said in a press release on Tuesday. “However, dispensaries may not deliver medical cannabis to a patient or caregiver’s home. These rules do not apply to adult use cannabis sales; those must still take place inside the limited access area.”
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said that “medical cannabis patients may be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 due to pre-existing conditions,” which was a factor in instituting the new guidelines. Those new rules will be in effect until March 30.
“Our top priority is to minimize the risk of and protect as many people from exposure to COVID-19,” said Toi Hutchinson, a senior advisor for cannabis control to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. “These steps prioritize that critical objective, while also ensuring medical patients have access to the medicine they need.”
The Finer Details of The New Protocols
Under the new protocols, the “exchange of cash and product must take place on the dispensary’s property or on a public walkway or at the curb of the street adjacent to the dispensary,” but the agency made it clear that dispensaries “may not deliver cannabis to a patient or caregiver’s home.”
The department said that dispensaries must “take steps to ensure consumers who come inside do not come within six feet of one another,” which may require “moving lines outside the dispensary, closing down some point-of-sale systems, distancing patient/caregiver lines within larger dispensaries, and minimizing the time a patient/caregiver stands near agents.”
The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation also emphasized the importance of maintaining a sanitary environment, saying that dispensaries must require “dispensary agents to wash their hand frequently throughout the day and provide an ample supply of disinfectant hand soap,” while also requiring the dispensaries to disinfect “surfaces patients are required to touch, such as ordering tablets or door handles every 30 minutes.”