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CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced guidance for cannabis dispensaries to continue business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a Tuesday, March 17 news release from the state, dispensaries are allowed to sell medical cannabis to patients and OAPP participants outside a limited access area until March 30 to help reduce contact between individuals. That's provided dispensaries follow certain guidelines.
Per the guidelines, dispensaries are permitted to sell medical cannabis on the dispensary’s property or on a public walkway or curb adjacent to the dispensary, the Tuesday release said. Medical cannabis patients will be able to continue to have their designated caregiver purchase medicine for them.
“Our top priority is to minimize the risk of and protect as many people from exposure to COVID-19,” Toi Hutchinson, senior advisor for cannabis control to the governor, said in the Tuesday release. “These steps prioritize that critical objective, while also ensuring medical patients have access to the medicine they need.”
However, the release said, dispensaries may not deliver medical cannabis to a patient or caregiver’s home.
These rules do not apply to adult use cannabis sales; those must still take place inside the limited access area. IDFPR is aware of at least eight dispensaries that have voluntarily suspended adult use cannabis sales, while others are implementing patient-only hours.
Dispensaries also must take steps to ensure consumers who come inside do not come within six feet of each other, the release said. Those efforts include moving lines outside the dispensary, closing down some point-of-sale systems and minimizing the time a patient or caregiver stands near dispensary agents.
According to the release, dispensaries also must allow agents to wash their hands frequently throughout the day and provide "an ample supply" of disinfectant hand soap. Any surfaces patients are required to touch, including ordering tablets or door handles, must be disinfected at least every 30 minutes.
State officials said in the release inspectors will continue to monitor cameras inside dispensaries daily to ensure continued compliance with the Department’s laws, rules, and guidance. The state agency expects dispensaries to answer inspectors’ calls or call them back promptly, if necessary.