GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Like most people, cannabis advocate Jamie Cooper has been affected by the coronavirus crisis.

"I was forced to cancel all of my events," she said. "Last night, in fact, I cancelled a total of 10 events I had planned over the next several weeks."

Gov. Whitmer's stay at home order has closed non-essential businesses, but this emerging Michigan industry is allowed to stay open, according to the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency.

"Well, the cannabis industry is considered an essential business," Cooper said. 

Cooper believes marijuana businesses in Michigan are allowed to stay open in part because of the amount of medical patients they serve.

"When we voted on adult use, we had a patient base of about 300,000 people that used cannabis for medicinal purposes," Cooper said.

Some of those patients use cannabis for a variety of issues and Cooper argues the current crisis is making the medication more vital than ever.

"Medical cannabis is often used for anxiety and depression, and I think a lot of people will be struggling with that anxiety because of finances and the way this is impacting a lot of people financially," Cooper said. 

But, marijuana businesses have been forced to make some changes. Curbside sales and delivery are the only way transactions can be made.

According to the MRA, shops must comply with social distancing requirements for staff within the facilities and establishments.

"It's important that these businesses think of the patient as number on," Cooper said. "A lot of patients that come to a dispensary are immune compromised, so it's important that safety is number one."

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