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New Mexico Deems Cannabis Dispensaries “Essential” Amid Health Crisis

Marijuana Coronavirus

The New Mexico Department of Health has informed medical marijuana patients, producers and others in the industry that medical marijuana dispensaries are deemed essential during statewide restrictions. The state is also extending expiration dates for cards that will expire between March 11 and June 13 an additional 90 days. Patients that need renewals or new approvals are urged to use telemedicine opportunities to do so.

New Mexico is going a step further in anticipating the need for additional staff by suspending the background check requirement temporarily, the New Mexico Political Report reported. Criminal background checks will not be required until marijuana businesses have to apply for relicensing in June. The state also issued some suggestions for dispensaries to follow during the emergency health order.

Dr. Dominick Zurlo, the Director of the Medical Cannabis Program, said, “As previously distributed to the LNPPs and Dispensaries, the Medical Cannabis Program recommends using pick-up, curb-side, or delivery service.”

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has closed in-person visits for all state offices, including the Medical Cannabis Program.

Dr. Zurlo also said, “Pick up and curb-side options do not require an amendment from the LNPP, however, delivery service does require an amendment in order to ensure policies are in place to ensure the safety of patients, staff, and safe delivery mechanisms.”

It is recommended that medical marijuana dispensaries limit the number of people per room to no more than 10. The state is, however, urging dispensaries to setup pickup and curbside pickups for patients during this time. Some dispensaries are offering to take phone orders or are allowing patients to order using a check-in window. Dispensaries that are setup to accept online orders encourage patients to use that option or the time being. Most dispensaries are expected to remain open with restricted services.