Official press release:
Public Health Group Calls on State Governors to Close Marijuana Stores to Mitigate COVID-19 Harms
(Alexandria, Va) - Today, Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) , the leading national non-profit working to oppose the expansion and normalization of the commercial marijuana industry and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration, released the following statement urging state governors to close marijuana storefronts in attempts to both prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help mitigate potential harms to public health:
“We are in contact with numerous governors across the country and have a simple message for them: Marijuana worsens symptoms related to COVID-19, and keeping marijuana stores open threatens public health. We have seen numerous reports of marijuana stores with long lines of people stocking up on the drug and have additionally seen states move to keep these stores open. Quite frankly, this presents a unique harm to public health and safety. Across the country, states are doing everything in their power to limit the gathering of people in one location. Long lines outside of establishments engaged in the distribution of marijuana should be a tremendous cause for concern.
“As U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams pointed out this morning , our nation could be at a higher risk of seeing worse health consequences resulting from COVID-19 due to the higher proportion of people using vaping products containing either nicotine or marijuana. This was backed up by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) who reported that ‘the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape,’ due to its serious impact on the lungs of those it infects.
“What’s more, studies have found that the consumption of THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana, in any form can negatively impact a user’s immune system, making them less capable of fighting off and recovering from COVID-19. This means we must also assume the consumption of high potency THC candies, gummies, ice creams, and oils can exacerbate issues with this virus.
“In light of these facts, we are urging governors in states with ‘legal’ marijuana operations to suspend the operations of these facilities in an effort to combat the spread of this pandemic and empower those who become infected to stand the best chance at a full recovery. With the very real shortage we are facing with ventilators, hospital beds, and other medical supplies, we must do all that is within our power to lessen the stress this will place on our healthcare system.”