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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Remain Open; Customers Reportedly Buying More

Ann Thompson
Have a Heart Cincy, the largest medical marijuana dispensary in Ohio, says it's seeing record high purchases.

At least at some Southwest Ohio medical marijuana dispensaries, business has never been better despite the coronavirus outbreak.

Have a Heart Cincy customers are telling General Manager Darius Bobo they are "tremendously grateful" the dispensary is open. In some cases he's noticed they're buying more than normal so they don't have to come in as often.

That seems to be a trend nationwide, as reported in Marijuana Business Daily.

Pharmacann, owner of Verilife in Columbia Township, says given the coronavirus, additional precautions are in place. Spokesman Jeremy Unruh tells WVXU those include making sure there are no more than 10 people in the waiting area, including employees, and they are being kept six feet apart.

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
Verilife is one of a handful of medical marijuana dispensaries in Southwest Ohio.

That is the thinking at other dispensaries as well. Have a Heart Cincy is the largest dispensary in Ohio and according to Bobo, "We'll do great numbers throughout the day but when people come in, I would say sporadically, we never have a large crowd of people within the waiting area."

The Hartwell facility has added extra sanitary measures, including having employees wear gloves and wiping everything down every 15 minutes. That seems to be the case nationwide.

In states that allow home delivery like Massachusetts and New York, Unruh says PharmaCann is pushing that instead of coming into the store.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.