SF marijuana dispensaries reopen during shelter-in-place order after city reverses decision

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Following the closure of marijuana dispensaries and delivery services in San Francisco per the regionwide shelter-in-place order that began Tuesday in response to the novel coronavirus, city officials announced the businesses could reopen.

"The Department of Public Health today clarified that since marijuana has medical uses, dispensaries will be allowed to operate as essential businesses just as pharmacies are allowed to do," Mayor London Breed said during a news conference at City Hall late Tuesday.

The health department initially ordered dispensaries and delivery services closed Monday night.

Under the three-week stay-at-home order, grocery stores and pharmacies, among other businesses, were listed as essential businesses that could stay open, but the order didn't identify cannabis dispensaries. 

Advocates with San Francisco-based cannabis advocacy organization Cal NORML called for their reopening Tuesday morning, citing severely ill patients who needed access to medication.

"SFDPH has reversed their position," Supervisor Matt Haney said on Twitter in response to the reopening. Haney had earlier voiced support for the reopening of cannabis businesses.

"We know cannabis has medicinal value for so many people and should remain open. They'll be open for delivery and pick up," he said.