WASHINGTON — A local medical marijuana dispensary is applauding D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s move to temporarily allow cannabis deliveries within the District’s borders.
Medical marijuana dispensaries are considered essential businesses, as health care operators, in D.C., according to a previous Bowser order.
Now, on a temporary basis, D.C.-registered dispensaries will be allowed to provide medical marijuana to District residents through delivery and curbside pickup options.
Corey Barnette, owner of the Metropolitan Wellness Center dispensary in D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, said deliveries are something his business had previously pushed for in the past.
“There’s definitely a group of people out in the world that would rather have delivery,” he said. “And, for them, delivery is both convenient and safer.”
Barnette said over the last month, his dispensary has been busy making sure it provides a clean and safe experience for the customers it serves.
In that same time period, business has increased dramatically at the Metropolitan Wellness Center.
According to Barnette, during the first two to three weeks of the coronavirus scare, his business experienced a 30-to-40 percent increase in daily visits. Currently, Barnette says his dispensary is still up 15-to-25 percent a day.
“There were a lot of people that were wondering if the dispensary would be shut down,” he said. “And, so, they may have been making a little bit heavier [of] purchases than they might normally have made.”
Barnette said his dispensary is coming up with a plan as to how it will take advantage of Mayor Bowser’s new order.
He said it is likely his dispensary will partner with a delivery company that already exists to transport its sales.
“We certainly intend to make sure that our driver, or drivers, have cameras in any and all instances,” he said. “And, that we have safe distancing requirements that we impose on our staff when they’re making a delivery.”
Maryland also recently put into place new emergency measures regarding the sale of medical marijuana during the coronavirus’ spread.
Last month, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission [MMCC] authorized on-site deliveries that could take place within dispensary parking lots.
Hope Wiseman is the co-owner and founder of Mary and Main medical marijuana dispensary in Capitol Heights.
She said sales at her business have been up 15% ever since the new Maryland regulation was put into place.
“We’ve seen a huge uptick in sales, as the entire industry has,” she said. “I think that’s a combination of one, now, people are just home more, so they have more time to consume and to shop with us. And, then, I think it also goes to the fact that we have curbside service.”
Wiseman said she believes this could ultimately serve as a test run for curbside service in the future.
“The state is seeing that we can do this,” she said.
In Maryland, dispensaries can already make deliveries through registered transportation agents, according to the MMCC.
Wiseman said Mary and Main will likely partner with a third-party delivery company to make deliveries in the next two weeks.
Currently, Virginia does not have any medical marijuana dispensaries.
In 2018, the Commonwealth gave approval to five companies to begin to produce Cannabidiol (CBD) and THC-A oil.
Earlier this month, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill into law that would prohibit people from being prosecuted for simple possession of marijuana if they have CBD or THC-A oil and written certification from a medical practitioner.