Medical marijuana workers in California move to front of vaccine line
LOS ANGELES - The California Department of Public Health is now allowing people who work at medical marijuana retail shops a shot at the front of the COVID-19 vaccine line.
This means medical pot workers will get vaccinated before some teachers and emergency workers.
Some say it makes perfect sense, while others are outraged.
"Cannabis delivery drivers before school bus drivers and teachers? Makes no sense to me," tweeted Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner.
It also makes no sense to others most vulnerable, especially during a supply shortage.
"We need help. They're not going to solve the problem of taking care of people in the hospitals because of the COVID-19," said Michael Daninger.
But United Cannabis Business Association President Jared Chiloe, who also owns dispensaries throughout California and got his first vaccine, says marijuana is medicine.
"When you look at 300,000 people a day come through our shops, it is a good opportunity for us to be able to protect not only our employees who are on the front lines, but also our customers who also have compromised immune systems and diseases that could be affected," he said.
The California Department of Health has updated its vaccine guidelines to include employees at retail cannabis shops in Phase 1A, which is now underway.
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Industry employees involved in growing production, storage, transportation and distribution are now bumped up to phase 1B, tier one.
"A lot of this is still having to do with stigma of cannabis in general just because we're we're serving a plant to the public that still has a taboo overlay on it doesn't mean that the people who serve it are bad people," said Sam Humeid, a cannabis industry consultant.
On the contrary, according to the state, they, too, are deemed health care workers who should be protected.
"I think that's a stretch. Yeah, it's it's a stretch to to say that they're the same as a nurse or a doctor," said Sam Toscano.
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