Advocacy Groups are Arguing that Dispensaries are Not Essential
Colorado stayed true to its reputation and deemed marijuana dispensaries essential under the stay-at-home order...but not everyone is happy about that.
According to The Denver Channel, two national advocacy groups are fighting to remove the 'essential' label from dispensaries in states where recreational marijuana is legal.
The groups are backing up their argument with a new study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which states that marijuana usage can increase a person's risk of getting the coronavirus.
"The National Institutes of Health said that smoking or vaping any drug...is a very bad idea to do right now because it impacts your lungs and this COVID virus is impacting people's lungs in a very dangerous way," Luke Niforatos, a senior policy advisor for Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), said to The Denver Channel.
Niforatos noted that he thought it was unfair for dispensaries to remain open when other businesses are having to close.
Aubree Adams, the media director for Parents Opposed to Pot, echoed his concerns, telling The Denver Channel that state officials need to be more vocal with the public about "the risks involved with smoking marijuana during the pandemic."
The study itself warned about more than just marijuana, stating that COVID-19 could also be a serious threat to anyone who smokes or vapes tobacco, and uses opioids or methamphetamines.
"The research community should thus be alert to associations between COVID-19 case severity/mortality and substance use, smoking or vaping history, and smoking or vaping-related lung disease," the study said. "We must also ensure that patients with substance use disorders are not discriminated against if a rise in COVID-19 cases places added burden on our healthcare system."