A coalition of marijuana businesses is asking California policymakers to specifically include cannabis workers in the next phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Marijuana companies have been deemed essential services throughout the pandemic, and the group argues that there are unique risks in the industry because workers frequently interact with patients who might be more vulnerable to the virus because they are immune compromised or elderly.
Like grocery workers and other people eligible for vaccination in Phase 1B, they say those employed in the cannabis sector should be next in line.
“Over the course of the last nine months, industry workers have been providing essential medicine to thousands of Californians every day,” the coalition of more than 20 cannabis firms wrote in a letter to the California Department of Public Health’s Community Vaccine Advisory Committee. “Despite numerous health and safety measure instituted at great expense by employers, this work has been done with inherent risk.”
Almost all states where cannabis is legal for medical or recreational purposes declared that the industry serves an essential purpose and could continue to operate amid the pandemic. Advocacy groups had pushed governors and state officials to ensure that medical marijuana patients in particular can maintain access to the cannabis they need.
“Despite a global pandemic, California’s cannabis industry has continued to work tirelessly to provide quality products in a safe manner,” David Spradlin, CEO of the marijuana company Perfect Union, said in a press release. “Even after following health and safety measures, cannabis workers face inherent risk going to work and cannot shelter in place.”
Published: January 08, 2021