Pot and the pandemic in Arkansas

Pot and the pandemic in Arkansas



As Arkansas continues to grapple with the social and economic convulsions wrought by the COVID-19 outbreak, television screens and news feeds are filled with stories and images of health care workers risking their own health for the benefit of their fellow citizens. For the most part, though, there has been a conspicuous absence in that narrative of one particular strand of health care professional: the budtender. 

Like nurses, doctors, janitors, grocery clerks and the myriad other frontline workers receiving (well-deserved) praise in the local and national media, the Arkansans working in the medical marijuana industry also don gloves and masks each and every day, striding to the front lines of a pandemic to continue providing a vital health care service to our most vulnerable friends, family and neighbors. A crucial difference, though, is that unlike a pharmacist at the corner apothecary or anesthesiologist in a hospital emergency room, workers in Arkansas’s medical marijuana industry are operating within a system that did not exist until last year.