A group of Massachusetts marijuana dispensaries have partnered with state hospitals to produce hand sanitizer to donate to health care workers at local hospitals as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.
The Commonwealth Dispensary Association (CDA) decided to seek permission from the state to make the hand sanitizer after learning that local hospital workers faced a shortage. They worked with the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association to get authorization to make the hand sanitizer from Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, the state Department of Public Health and the state Cannabis Control Commission.
CDA President David Torrisi said that association members “jumped at the opportunity to partner with MHA to make this happen. I am incredibly proud of members who are allocating time and resources to produce hand sanitizer, at cost, to help clinicians in the fight against COVID-19.”
Dispensaries Hope to Produce 5,000 Gallons a Day
The CDA is following World Health Organization Guidelines on making changes to machinery to produce the sanitizer. When everyone can ramp up operations, they should produce as much as 5,000 gallons a day, Torrisi said.
Dispensaries will store the sanitizer in five-gallon jugs for transport to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency for distribution to individual hospitals. One hope is that the donations will allow medical facilities to reduce the time spent on creating hand sanitizer and allow them to focus on meeting the demand of a growing number of patients.
The CDA has 36 members that hold dispensary licenses in 60 cities and towns in Massachusetts.
Other Donations, Sales Skyrocket
In California, where marijuana dispensaries have been named an essential business that can remain open during the outbreak, a Santa Barbara dispensary is working to find medical supplies for a local hospital.
Farmacy dispensary and Glass House Farms, both owned by the same company, plan to donate 1,000 medical gowns to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. The businesses use the gowns for workers in cannabis grow houses. The company decided to make the donation after finding out about the shortage of supplies and checking with the hospital to see if they would work for medical personnel. Leaders with the companies also have worked with their suppliers to find extra masks for use by the hospital.
Sales of marijuana also have skyrocketed in recent weeks as many consumers anticipated states shutting down dispensaries. While no solid numbers are yet available, long lines at dispensaries and reports from individual stores indicate a strong surge in cannabis sales across the country.
Much like the run on toilet paper, there’s been a run on marijuana. Sacramento dispensary owner Maisha Bahati said that her dispensary has been “crazy busy” with many new customers, first-time women buyers and many senior buyers.
“A lot of people calling,” Bahati said, “some were concerned we would not be open, so they were kind of stockpiling.”