Long lines at San Francisco area cannabis stores exempt from coronavirus
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[March 18, 2020]
By Rich McKay
(Reuters) - Millions of California's Bay
area residents can still legally light up as cannabis facilities are
exempt from a cornonavirus lockdown that has shuttered most businesses
in San Francisco and nearby cities.
Cannabis store managers say they have lines longer than local grocery
shops and waiting room only. Most staff at a dozen stores reached
Tuesday evening said they were too busy to talk to Reuters.
"Oh man, we're flooded. As soon as people heard we were still open, they
started lining up," said Anthony Barajas, the general manager of Cana
Culture in San Jose.
"Once all the toilet paper got sold out, they knew they needed some
relief," he said.
Bars, clubs, gyms and other businesses all closed Monday under one of
the strictest orders made so far in the United States aimed at stemming
the coronavirus pandemic. Around 7 million people reside in the area
affected by the orders.
Cannabis stores and vendors join the short list of "essential" places
that can stay open along with grocery stores, pharmacies and doctors
offices, the San Jose Mercury News and other media reported, citing the
state's Bureau of Cannabis Control and local officials.
California has more than 500 confirmed cases of coronavirus and at least
12 people have died.
[to top of second column]
A man peeks through the door at the Barbary Coast Sunset Cannabis
Dispensary prior to the citywide shelter in place order amid the
novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, in San Francisco, California,
U.S. March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Cana Culture is following strict rules, such as no more than 10
people in the facility at a time, either shopping or relaxing in a
smoking area. Outside, the store's security officers enforce a store
rule that everyone has to stand about an arm's length away from each
"We're a necessary service," said Barajas. "People need this for
medical purposes and recreation. The public still needs access to
"It's been steady from the time we open right up until we close,
with people still waiting outside," Barajas said. "And we're still
allowed to do curb-side service."
He added: "I guess the state still needs some tax revenue while
everything else is closed."
(Reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
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