Lehigh Valley cannabis dispensaries adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic

Written by on April 22, 2020

Lehigh Valley cannabis dispensaries adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Stephen Jiwanmall

April 22, 2020

Vehicles start to fill up the parking lot at Keystone Canna Remedies‘ location on Stefko Boulevard before the store even opens for the day. Photo | Stephen Jiwanmall / WLVR

Among Pennsylvania’s “essential businesses” are those who grow and sell medical marijuana. 

WLVR’s Stephen Jiwanmall reports on how the state’s first dispensary is working through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The parking lot of Keystone Canna Remedies in Bethlehem fills up, even before the business opens for the day.

Medical marijuana patients and caregivers wait in their vehicles, as employees fetch orders from inside.

Pennsylvania has relaxed regulations to help get medication to those who need it. That includes remote consultations with certified physicians.

Keystone’s COO Joan Guadagnino says the company has set aside days for new patients to sign up.

“Those days are very full. They’ve been full for the last two weeks, and we probably could go out for another month on those days being full,” said Guadagnino. 

She says sales were up in March and Keystone added more customers. So far, the company has kept 47 employees on payroll.

Pennsylvania has temporarily relaxed regulations when it comes to medical marijuana.

  • Dispensaries can now serve customers outside of their buildings, which means employees can handle transactions in the parking lot.
  • There’s no longer a limit on how many patients are assigned to a caregiver.
  • When it comes to renewing caregiver applications, there’s no need for a background check.
  • Instead of 30-day supplies, patients are now getting 90-day supplies.
  • Consultations no longer have to be in person. They can be done remotely through a video conference or a phone call.

For more on Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program, click HERE.

Watch Stephen’s PBS39 News Tonight Report.


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