Pot shops to stay open for shel­ter-in-place rules

Times Standard (Eureka) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Shomik Mukher­jee smukher­jee@times-stan­dard.com @ShomikMukh­er­jee on Twit­ter

Cannabis dis­pen­saries will be des­ig­nated as health­care op­er­a­tions and con­tinue to re­main open dur­ing Hum­boldt County’s shel­ter-in-place or­der amid the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

The county health of­fi­cer’s lat­est or­der now prevents busi­nesses that of­fer “qual­ity of life” prod­ucts from stay­ing open, but mar­i­juana re­tail­ers (of all kinds) con­tinue to be listed in their new cat­e­gory.

It’s a breath of re­lief for dis­pen­sary own­ers, in­clud­ing Julius Adams of Proper Well­ness Cen­ter, who says sales have tanked this week af­ter an ini­tial spike saw cus­tomers stock­ing up for the lo­cal shut­down.

“We’re try­ing to just sur­vive, re­ally,” Adams said. “We’ve seen half as much as the usual cus­tomers come in, maybe even less some days.”

Proper Well­ness and other dis­pen­saries around the county are of­fer­ing curb­side pickup or­ders and home de­liv­er­ies dur­ing the shel­ter-in-place or­der.

Al­though Proper Well­ness’ new dis­pen­sary in Rio Dell is up and run­ning, the store­front’s grand open­ing has been post­poned in­def­i­nitely. The com­pany had pre­vi­ously ex­tended its cel­e­bra­tion to April 15, but the coro­n­avirus era is now ex­pected to last much longer.

A large-scale eco­nomic stim­u­lus ap­proved by Congress last week will aid small and large busi­nesses around the coun­try, but it’s un­likely the lo­cal cannabis in­dus­try will see any of that fund­ing, since pot re­mains fed­er­ally il­le­gal.

“Some fed­eral or­ga­ni­za­tions have been lob­by­ing for years to change the (Small Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s) rules. We don’t have rea­son to think that’s go­ing to hap­pen soon,” said Ross Gor­don, pol­icy di­rec­tor for the Hum­boldt County Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion.

But as fund­ing goes, 1st District Hum­boldt County Su­per­vi­sor Rex Bohn said Tues­day the county will make sure some­thing comes over the moun­tain­top to aid the lo­cal econ­omy.

“We have the whole eco­nomic

de­vel­op­ment depart­ment look­ing into be­ing able to uti­lize fund­ing for the em­ploy­ees and cit­i­zens of Hum­boldt County,” Bohn said.

Not all dis­pen­saries are see­ing rev­enue dip. Hum­boldt Pa­tient Re­source Cen­ter, which has lo­ca­tions in Eu­reka and Arcata, re­ports steady sales even as res­i­dents are told to stay home.

Mariellen Jurkovich, the cen­ter’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, said the busi­ness is tak­ing ex­tra mea­sures to stay clean and ac­ces­si­ble dur­ing the pan­demic.

“Peo­ple are at home more, and maybe feel­ing a lit­tle anx­ious,” Jurkovich said. “It’s great we’re con­sid­ered es­sen­tial — that hasn’t al­ways been the case.”

TIMES-STAN­DARD FILE

Mariellen Jurkovich of Hum­boldt Pa­tient Re­source Cen­ter said the dis­pen­sary is dou­bling down on clean­ing mea­sures to keep staff and em­ploy­ees safe.

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