AGLC can't require cannabis dispensaries or liquor stores to close

Published Mar 26, 2020 11:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Ivan-balvan

COVID-19 has begun to show up in test results across Canada, and as the numbers of positive cases continue to grow, both citizens and the government are taking things much more seriously. A state of emergency has been called by the most heavily impacted provinces, including Alberta, which has forced numerous stores and unessential businesses to close their doors to the public.

All non-essential stores and venues have been ordered to close, leaving only a handful of open facilities for consumers to stock up on things like food and hygiene products. Malls are closed, doctor's offices and dental facilities are seeing patients only on an emergency basis, and the few privately owned stores that remain open are pretty much empty.

The hope is that shutting down the affected areas will slow the spread of COVID-19, and this is a sentiment that all Canadians share, as we witness the way that such significant restrictions and changes are already impacting the well-being of thousands of Canadians.

Though some people remain employed through businesses like fast food establishments who have the ability to offer delivery directly to customers allowing them to stay open for the time being, the majority of people are working from home, reduced hours, or are laid off until further notice. These changes are something that we’ve accepted as necessary measures to keep hospitals from being overloaded, saving countless lives, but not all businesses have closed.

Cannabis dispensaries are one of the last businesses in Canada to remain open to the public, and many of them are using this unique time to get creative, serving customers through delivery, curbside pickup, and some are even making exceptions to temporarily allow those in need to place orders from the parking lot, which has led to questions about why they have made this choice, and what might happen in the near future.

AGLC in Alberta Canada

It is important to recognize the fact that no one can force a total closure of all stores and businesses in Canada aside from the federal government, and until or unless they choose to take some form of action, the majority of small businesses are allowed to stay open, as long as they meet current guidelines for public health and safety.

In the case of dispensaries that are controlled by provincial governments or directed agencies like the AGLC in Alberta Canada, each region follows an entirely different set of rules, with many leaving it up to business owners moving forward. Alberta dispensaries are at the forefront of this discussion due to the large outbreak of COVID-19 cases in British Columbia, and they are allowing each cannabis dispensary owner to make that choice on their own.

This is upsetting for some Albertans who are weary of the long line ups and extra traffic that it brings through residential neighborhoods, which is exactly the sort of situation that Health Canada has recommended all citizens avoid, but not everyone is convinced that this move is necessary just yet.

Patients are important

We tend to think of dispensaries as a place that people go to find weed to get high, but the truth is that Canada is home to thousands of license holding medical cannabis patients who benefit greatly from the therapeutic treatment that cannabinoids can offer. Many of whom are cancer patients or sufferers from other ailments that may render leaving them with a compromised immune system.

These people need relief from nausea, pain, muscle stiffness and soreness, and other common medical conditions, and the majority of them have managed to reduce or eliminate their use of pharmaceutical options like opioids thanks to the potent power of the plant. Without access to this much-needed medicine, many patients will be left in need of treatment that is challenging to receive safely at this time from a normal doctor.

Recreational consumers could also benefit from some relief

Medically fragile cannabis patients are most definitely the ones who should be given priority at this time, but they aren’t the only ones to benefit from access to these products. Recreational consumers can experience minor symptoms of withdrawal, which can make it more difficult to relax, pass the time, sleep, and eat.

Unfortunately, stress also leads to these unfortunate side effects, and given the current pandemic, millions of Canadians are panicked to the max, while avoiding human contact as much as possible. This scenario leaves some locked away indoors, without a reasonable amount of sunlight, and no interaction with other people, and that can put everyone in a negative mindset rather quickly.

Most people don’t realize how powerful the adverse effects of stress can be, and that problem alone is why any and all relief will be welcomed with open arms. Scared and bored cannabis consumers in Canada will be looking for something to kill time, and there is little else that compares to the benefits of cannabinoids.

As long as dispensaries stay open, they are likely to see a spike in sales and an increase in revenue, and that’s a good thing for both medical patients and regular everyday people who are going through such a turbulent time.

Cannabis events that are either canceled or postponed due to COVID19

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