The City of Los Angeles has deemed selling weed an essential service, critical to the health and well-being of those sheltering at home.
ate last month, while President Trump flirted with solutions to the coronavirus—sunbathing with a “very powerful light,” injecting Lysol to clean the lungs—others elected to smoke pot. In Los Angeles, as a queue of cars crept slowly in a two-hour In-N-Out Burger drive-through line, in Hollywood, a string of people, standing six feet apart, snaked down the block outside the MMD cannabis dispensary.
Mishka Ashbel, who co-owns the dispensary with his brother, Slava, said, “We get to provide a little relief to a stressed society.” Los Angeles, which shuttered its beaches and hiking trails, has deemed weed an essential service, critical to residents’ health and well-being. “On 4/20, a lot of people used coming to a dispensary as an excuse to get out of the house, to feel normal again,” Ashbel said. “To stand in that line was like a special occasion. People placed online orders for delivery starting at 4 a.m.” (Seniors get their gummies, organic pre-rolled joints, and edibles delivered free.)
“Vice industries,” such as the liquor business, do well during recessions and crises; in the first days of the shutdown, marijuana stocks outperformed the crashing S. & P. Ashbel does not consider cannabis a vice product. “This is a health product,” he said. “You feel this responsibility to the public here—we’re on the front lines. It’s uncharted territory.”