BROOKLINE, MASS. (WHDH) – While medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic, recreational shops have been ordered closed — which owners said will ruin businesses and harm customers.

“I think it’s going to be devastating and I’m incredibly sympathetic to those that operate small businesses  in Massachusetts,” said Cureless CEO Joe Lusardi, who runs three recreational pot shops.

Gov. Charlie Baker’s order to close non-essential businesses spares medicinal shops, but Lusardi said many of his customers are buying marijuana for medical purposes.

“Two-thirds of our customers we believe use cannabis for some medicinal purpose even though they rely on the adult use market,” Lusardi said. “We have a number of veterans that come to our shops, they tell us consistently they don’t want to be in this state database or declare they are cannabis users in fear of losing their benefits.”

And given that liquor stores are considered essential, marijuana shops should be as well, according to Dr. Peter Grinspoon, an internist at Mass General.

“There’s no real good reason when you have medical shops open and liquor shops open to not have pot shops that a lot of people use,” Grinspoon said. “In low doses it really can help accommodate some of their anxiety in this unprecedented time we’re going through.”

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