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SEATTLE – Marijuana dispensaries in Washington state are considered essential and can remain open under the most recent “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order issued by Gov. Jay Inslee.

“We’re trying our best to keep everyone happy and high when they are just stuck at home,” said Natalie Boulton with Pot Shop Seattle.

Boulton said the shop logged record breaking sales in recent weeks, all while practicing measures to keep everyone safe.

“We’ve put lines down for distancing. We all wear gloves. We try to sanitize everything around the store, every surface, every hour or so and we offer hand sanitizer to everyone who’s come in,” said Boulton.

Not everyone is on board with dispensaries staying open while other businesses are forced to close. A business owner told Q13 their business was closed and long-time employees were laid off, some who have worked loyally with them for 25 years.

But Boulton said people use marijuana for more than just recreation. Customers use cannabis products as anti-depressants, sleep aids, and to curb opiate addiction, she said.

“All THC is a sedative,” Boulton said. “It’s a good calming agent for people that are nervous or have stress or anxiety given the situation, so it’s just a good way for people to stay calm and entertained at home. It also brings in a ton of tax dollars to the state, so that’s another reason why we’re deemed essential.

“Cannabis is still highly stigmatized and when you really look into the beneficial effects it has, especially on the medicinal side, you might change your tune,” said Boulton.

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