Colorado Grants Major Cannabis Industry Wish

Online sales of recreational pot legalized during pandemic
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 13, 2020 4:09 PM CDT
State Loosens Pot Laws During Pandemic
Marijuana plants are pictured at the Baker's marijuana nursery at Baker Medical Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, in Oklahoma City.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Colorado has made online sales of recreational marijuana legal during the coronavirus pandemic, fulfilling one of the pot industry's biggest wishes and fueling its argument for more concessions that could be made permanent when the crisis eases. It's one of several signs emerging from the virus outbreak of just how far ingrained marijuana has become in mainstream life in several states, the AP reports. Dispensaries are being designated "critical businesses" and are allowed to operate through statewide stay-at-home orders. Large markets such as California, Washington state, and Oregon are allowing curbside pickup during the crisis. Now under Colorado's emergency rules, customers can pay for marijuana online and then pick up their purchase at the store.

"We have an opportunity to prove that cannabis businesses can run these operations and do so effectively under extremely dire circumstances," says Morgan Fox, a spokesman for the Denver-based National Cannabis Industry Association. Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois, and Oregon also allow online recreational marijuana sales. But the practice nonetheless remains severely limited because credit card companies tend to shy away from dealing with a drug that is still illegal under US law. Fox says easing restrictions on dispensaries is a step, but he doubts credit card companies will embrace the marijuana industry unless lawmakers provide some cover by passing the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which aims to protect financial institutions that serve cannabis-related businesses.

(More marijuana stories.)

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