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While marijuana dispensaries were made essential during the pandemic, cannabis industry workers are on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s priority list for vaccination among the public.
The CDPHE’s vaccination rollout schedule does not specifically list marijuana workers who may fall under categories such as essential retail, agriculture, food manufacturing, or medical care providers (at least for medical marijuana). Instead, unless they qualify for other categories, they are in the final stages.
Colorado’s vaccination schedule is currently divided into two phases, with the first divided into multiple phases. High-risk individuals (mostly elderly people living in groups), first responders, and health care workers were the first to receive phase 1A vaccinations. After that, teachers and over 65s had to queue. The next phase of 1B begins March 5 and includes food workers and those over 60, among others. On March 21st, the state will move to phase 1B.4, which will employ more than fifty and essential workers in food production and agriculture. However, marijuana workers responsible for manufacturing packaged infused foods do not fall into these categories, according to CDPHE.
“Farm workers are eligible in 1B.4 if they are involved in agricultural food production. With such a limited vaccine supply in Colorado, the state is unable to record all labor. The governor and CDPHE are very confident that the future is lighter The vaccine supply will allow the general population to become eligible earlier, including workers in the cannabis industry, “says a department spokesman.
Native Roots, one of the largest marijuana retail chains in Colorado, has spoken to the department in hopes of bringing marijuana workers into 1B.4, but according to Shannon Fender, Public Affairs Director of Native Roots, their company still doesn’t have a solid answer receive .
The Colorado-based Marijuana Industry Group also wishes marijuana industry workers to join 1B.4 and is communicating with Governor Jared Polis’ office as vaccination continues, despite Director Truman Bradley acknowledging the pandemic ” is a dynamic situation “. and things can certainly change. “
“The Marijuana Industry Group is committed to protecting vital cannabis workers, but we fully understand that all of the Coloradans are part of this together,” he continues. “Currently, Governor Polis has determined that protecting Colorado’s food suppliers and the elderly are the top two priorities. The governor has tough decisions to make, and MIG continues to work with his office to communicate when this industry’s turn will be will be . “
Although other states with medical marijuana industries like California and Maryland have moved medical marijuana workers to earlier stages of vaccination, Colorado has no such plans.
Last week, while announcing the line-up for Phase 1B.4, Polis announced that vaccinations would be available to the general public from April. His office has not yet responded to a request for comment on the status of marijuana workers.
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Thomas Mitchell has been writing about everything cannabis-related for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate, and general news en route to publications like the Republic of Arizona, Inman, and Fox Sports. He is currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.