Cannabis deemed an essential item in Illinois 

Dispensaries, including Evanston’s MedMen, open for business during pandemic



MedMen Dispensary in Evanston has been allowed to remain open as an essential business under the governor’s executive order

In the midst of the “stay at home” order, many businesses have been forced to close because they were deemed ‘nonessential’. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s executive order laid out several categories of businesses that have the option to remain open, including cannabis dispensaries, on the condition that they agreed to follow social distancing and proper sanitary protocol.

“For the purposes of this Executive Order, Essential Businesses and Operations means Healthcare and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Governmental Functions, and Essential Infrastructure,” said Pritzker.

Public health operations include service businesses like pharmacies, dental offices, and “licensed medical cannabis dispensaries and licensed cannabis cultivation centers,”

MedMen is a chain dispensary with a store located on Maple Street in Evanston. At the time of writing the store has stayed open and has a constant flow of stock to provide customers with what they need. The store is encouraging customers to order online and use their curbside pickup to stay as safe as possible.

Cannabis has been used in the medical field for many years. It is commonly used to treat pain and help calm the nervous system. Beyond medical marijuana, many use the drug to treat anxiety.”

In addition to curbside pickup, the store has stepped up certain precautions within the store and with their employees. In an official statement on their website, the company laid out a plan to keep their customers safe, as many dispensaries have. 

“We’re using our best judgment to limit the number of customers, patients, and employees in our stores at one time on the sales floor,” stated the site. 

MedMen communications explained that they are working under the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Their goal is to keep their customers safe and provide them with what they need.

“We are closely following recent guidelines released by each state and local jurisdiction, plus that of the CDC and World Health Organization, in the best interest of our customers and employees and have adopted the recommended safety protocol at retail,” said MedMen.

It may seem odd to go to your local marijuana dispensary in the middle of this pandemic. This serves as a reminder that since it became legal in January, cannabis is just as essential as toilet paper for many. 

Back in January when cannabis first became legal, we saw lines blocks long waiting to get into dispensaries. All because of the demand for the drug.

Cannabis has been used in the medical field for many years. It is commonly used to treat pain and help calm the nervous system. Beyond medical marijuana, many use the drug to treat anxiety.

In this time, staying calm and relaxed is hard for many. This is reflected by the increase in cannabis sales during this time. An article by the Chicago Tribune revealed an increase of sales in the month of March.

Illinois marijuana dispensaries sold almost $36 million worth of legal weed in March — a slight increase over February — even as the coronavirus pandemic shut down the state and people were ordered to stay at home,” stated the article.

It is clear that in a time like this, cannabis is a necessity for many, for medical and recreational use, making Pritzker’s decision to deem it essential an easy choice.