Massachusetts residents are prepping for the long haul by stockpiling supplies — and, apparently, buying a lot of marijuana to make it through an extended self-quarantine.
One Marijuana Dispensary, New England Treatment Access, has stopped walk-in customer orders due to overwhelming volume, and will now only sell to those who order in advance. “In light of the current environment, we will remain open,” an announcement on the NETA website says, “but will move to Reserve Ahead only starting on Saturday.”
Inside the Brookline store, a startling sight. Employees wear latex gloves, and bottles of hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray sit beside each checkout station. The process is efficient, a quick in-and-out, as compared to the massive lines seen snaking around the parking lot of the shop in the past few days, according to NETA employees.
For customers like Mary K. Murray, purchasing a few months worth of cannabis is how she manages her chronic hip pain when other medications might be harder to come by. “I can’t stockpile my so-called traditional medications that are issued by a pharmacist at CVS or Walgreens,” Murray says, standing at the NETA exit. “But I feel way more confident in my ability to take care of myself through the purchase of cannabis, through medical marijuana products, because I can do that myself.”
Murray says she’s frustrated, because while she’s happy to be able to buy cannabis as a medical patient, she finds access to her prescriptions much harder. “Now we're in a state of emergency, and I don't know if I will be able to get to the pharmacist or to my next doctor's appointment to get that prescription renewed,” she said. “It's definitely making me anxious, but having the ability to purchase the amount of marijuana and cannabis products that I'm going to need is essential to addressing how I'm going to stay safe.”
Massachusetts' Cannibis Control Commission is also worried about sustaining supplies for medical marijuana patients. In a memo they sent out on Friday, the commission said "Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers that offer patient delivery may consider the promotion and geographic expansion of their service and remind patients of the ability to acquire up to a 60-day supply."
Some NETA patrons found themselves in less dire situations. John Wilson just got a call that said he’ll be working from home in Wellesley for his real estate firm, so he came to get supplies while he still could.
“I came here definitely just to load up on it as much as possible, because it seems like people are looking to stay as quarantined as possible,” Wilson said. “The initial scare was like, all right, let's grab as much as we can right now, because I don't think there's going to be too much longer till they start shutting everything down.”