Like grocery stores, corner stores, and hospitals around the world, Massachusetts is running dangerously low on hand sanitizer. And with the spread of COVID-19 necistating extreme cleanliness, the Bay State’s licensed cannabis dispensaries are stepping up to help fill the void.
According to MassLive, the Commonwealth Dispensary Association (CDA), a 36-member, 60-city strong cannabis trade organization, received approval from Governor Charlie Barker to divert at least some manpower to the production to hand sanitizer. In Massachusetts, medical cannabis dispensaries have been deemed “essential services” amidst the coronavirus crisis in the same vein as pharmacies.
“Knowing that in States of Emergencies pharmacies can produce hand sanitizer and that we have equivalent lab facilities and knowledgeable personnel, I put forth the recommendation and was thrilled to see enthusiasm from other members,” John Hillier, a CDA board member, the executive director of Central Ave Compassionate Care, and founder and president of Gage Cannabis, told MassLive.
Using equipment at dispensaries and cannabis production facilities, CDA members will use World Health Organization guidelines to produce five gallon jugs of hand sanitizer. The disinfectants will then be distributed to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, before being allotted to local hospitals in need. In total, the dispensary association estimates that its members will be able to produce a combined 5,000 gallons of sanitizer every week.
“It was clear to me that hospitals are spending valuable resources producing hand sanitizer when they should be preparing for what’s coming down the road,” Hillier said. "As an industry, we have the capabilities to step in and allow them to spend more time providing care.”
For hospital officials, the addition of a new in-state sanitizer producer is a major relief, and an indication that the Bay State’s medical cannabis facilities are just that: medical.
"Given the extreme stress that our health system is facing, seeing the business community step up to produce critical supplies to ease that burden reinforces the notion that we are all in this together,” Steve Walsh, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, said.
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