In recent days, the Governors of both New Jersey and Pennsylvania have ordered the closure of certain businesses deemed non-essential as part of each state’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Further guidance from both states has made clear that medical marijuana dispensaries are deemed essential businesses and can remain open until further notice.

Medical cannabis

The official within New Jersey Department of Health who oversees the program confirmed last week that all dispensaries in the state will remain open. In Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf’s announcement indicated that pharmacies and other healthcare facilities were deemed “essential.” The Pennsylvania Department of Health later clarified in a statement that medical marijuana dispensaries fall into the same classification as pharmacies, and can remain open as essential businesses.

Dispensaries in these states (and nationally) have taken measures to ensure “social distancing,” such as limiting the number of individuals who may enter the dispensary at once and prohibiting patients from entering if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Licensed dispensaries should consider enacting similar measures in order to mitigate the potential for exposure to COVID-19 by its employees and customers. Fox Rothschild has created several resources for business seeking to implement a Coronavirus response plan, which can be found here.

Every business and individual has been or will be impacted by the 2019 novel coronavirus that causes the disease known as COVID-19. The legal questions and concerns raised by this ongoing, widespread and unpredictable crisis are changing day to day. Fox attorneys are closely monitoring the legal and regulatory landscape to provide our clients with useful information to assist in their plans. For more information, see Fox Rothschild’s Coronavirus Resource Page.