Medical pot sales adapt in response to coronavirus - Albuquerque Journal

Medical pot sales adapt in response to coronavirus

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico’s medical cannabis program has 82,147 enrolled patients. (Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE – New Mexico medical cannabis dispensaries have been allowed to stay open under Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s order closing all businesses other than those deemed essential in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

But some dispensaries have moved to a new model – involving advance orders and curbside pickup – to limit person-to-person contact.

Len Goodman, CEO of Best Daze in Santa Fe and one of New Mexico’s medical cannabis pioneers, said the new system requires dispensary employees to take orders by phone or internet.

When customers arrive to pick up their orders, staffers go outside to verify their identification and medical cannabis ID cards – all of which is typically done through a car window.

“It’s more complex, it’s more difficult for patients, and it’s more difficult for us, but it’s far safer,” Goodman told the Journal.

The Department of Health, which oversees the state’s medical marijuana program, has encouraged licensed producers to use pickup or delivery systems to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

The agency has also made several other allowances, including a 90-day extension for enrolled program members whose identification cards are scheduled to expire between mid-March and mid-June and temporarily suspending criminal background check requirements for newly hired medical cannabis employees.

As for sales, Goodman said there was a spike in purchases shortly after the Lujan Grisham administration ordered the closure of nonessential businesses, possibly due to concern that medical cannabis dispensaries would be shut.

Since then, he said, his dispensary has seen fewer patients daily, but those who have placed orders have often bought larger amounts of cannabis.

Meanwhile, Ben Lewinger of the New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce said its members are suspending all special promotions and events on April 20, the unofficial annual holiday for cannabis users and activists.

Instead of in-person events, the producers will promote virtual events, possibly through videoconferencing or other remote technology.

“We’re taking the designation of ‘essential business’ seriously, and our actions demonstrate that,” said Robert Munro, the cannabis group’s board president and the owner of Seven Clover dispensaries in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho. “While this may not be a popular decision with everyone, suspending 4/20 sales and promotions is the right thing to do.”

Overall enrollment in New Mexico’s medical cannabis program has skyrocketed in recent years as additional dispensaries have been opened around the state and more qualifying conditions have been added.

There were 82,147 patients enrolled in New Mexico’s program as of last month, according to Health Department data.

Home » Journal North » Journal North Recent News » Medical pot sales adapt in response to coronavirus


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
County's cool with casitas
ABQnews Seeker
Bernalillo County is ready for a ... Bernalillo County is ready for a new kind of tiny home. Meanwhile, county voters in November will have their say on $40.5M worth of ...
2
Couy Griffin back in court to fight for his ...
ABQnews Seeker
Lawsuit contends that his role on ... Lawsuit contends that his role on Jan. 6 violated the 14th Amendment
3
Ethics questioned as cannabis regulators join the private sector
ABQnews Seeker
Some are unsure if the state's ... Some are unsure if the state's 'revolving door' policy indeed curbs conflicts of interest
4
Santa Fe's century-old Indian Market values tradition
ABQnews Seeker
Popular event continues to push the ... Popular event continues to push the boundaries that define Native art
5
State Police: Carlsbad man shot by deputies was armed
ABQnews Seeker
State Police to confirm accounts of ... State Police to confirm accounts of the incident and provide a report to the DA's office
6
3 shot in SE Albuquerque Saturday night
ABQnews Seeker
One of the people died at ... One of the people died at the scene near East Central and Tramway
7
Police: Man shot at officers outside Walmart
ABQnews Seeker
Shooter, two more in custody, police ... Shooter, two more in custody, police say
8
Son of alleged shooter tied to killings of Muslim ...
ABQnews Seeker
Authorities: Cellphones of both men in ... Authorities: Cellphones of both men in 'general area' of shooting
9
A trying time for trout
ABQnews Seeker
Wildfires prompt fish rescues in NM ... Wildfires prompt fish rescues in NM habitats