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Marijuana dispensaries remain ‘essential’ under Ohio stay-at-home order

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 3/22/2020 By Troy L. Smith, cleveland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio – As you’ve probably heard by now, Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine has announced a stay-at-home order in his ongoing effort to combat the outbreak of coronavirus.

The order will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday and remain in effect until April 6, at which point Gov. DeWine and his administration will re-assess the situation. The order is similar to recent shelter-in-place orders issued in states like California, New York and Illinois. The Ohio order instructs all residents to stay in their homes until further notice, save for exceptions.

All non-essential businesses will close. But one essential business that will remain active is medical marijuana. Last week, Ohio health officials reiterated that food, medicine and banking services will remain open throughout the COVID-19 crisis, something Sunday’s stay-at-home order confirmed.

Because the state considers medical marijuana to be medicine, which the Ohio Board of Pharmacy reaffirmed last week, the state’s medical marijuana stores, which are available to more than 95,000 registered patients in Ohio, will stay open.

The medical marijuana industry in Ohio hasn’t reached the same level as other states since sales begin at the state of last year. However, that might change.

After instituting its shelter-in-place order on Thursday, California, saw sales of medical marijuana increased more than 200 percent. Website Weedmaps, reported that the medical marijuana industry as a whole is up roughly 50 percent from what it usually does at this time of year with 4/20 approaching.

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