By: Andy Perez
A recent update to California’s COVID-19 vaccination policy ensures that cannabis industry employees are immediately eligible to receive the vaccine.
INITIAL CONFUSION FOR CALIFORNIA’S CANNABIS WORKERS
For the 40,000+ workers in the state’s marijuana industry, the first few weeks of California’s vaccine rollout was fogged with confusion and uncertainty.
While cannabis industry employees were initially considered “essential” workers when Coronavirus restrictions first came to light in Spring 2020, the same clarity wasn’t present when the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) first outlined the state’s vaccination strategy. Several cannabis industry representatives attempted to get to the root of the confusion.
The United Cannabis Business Association contacted Gov. Gavin Newsome’s vaccination advisory committee in January, saying, “Over the course of the last nine months, industry workers have been providing essential medicine to thousands of Californians every day . . . Despite numerous health and safety measures instituted at great expense by employers, this work has been done with inherent risk.”
More industry leaders came out in support of the cause, shedding light on the need for COVID-19 vaccinations within the cannabis industry. David Spradlin, CEO of the cannabis company Perfect Union, said, “Despite a global pandemic, California’s cannabis industry has continued to work tirelessly to provide quality products in a safe manner . . . And unlike traditional retail, many that visit cannabis dispensaries are also those most vulnerable to severe COVID-19 complications, including the immune-compromised and elderly. I urge state policymakers to explicitly include essential cannabis workers in Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout to keep our patients and staff safe.”