The cannabis industry asks Oregon Governor Kate Brown to deem it an 'essential business'
A variety of medicinal marijuana buds in jars are pictured at Los Angeles Patients & Caregivers Group dispensary in West Hollywood, California U.S., October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

The designation could allow weed shops to stay open if social distancing measures increase to a shelter in place order.

As elected officials and health experts scramble to contain the spread of COVID-19, businesses across the state are shutting down—and many that remain open are worried about their continued ability to serve customers.

Yesterday, the Oregon Cannabis Association, which represents more than 250 member companies, wrote to Gov. Kate Brown, beseeching her not to order cannabis shops closed, as she previously did with bars and restaurants.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has hinted that it may call for all non-essential businesses to close to prevent the spread of the virus," the association wrote to Brown. "Our customers, both medical and not, rely on dispensaries in our state to provide them with safe and tested products. This service is critical to the tens of thousands of patients registered with [the Oregon Health Authority], as well as tens of thousands of consumers who are not registered patients, but still rely on cannabis to help control and alleviate their conditions.

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