New California vaccine guidelines place marijuana industry workers ahead of teachers for COVID-19 vaccine, raises some eyebrows


SAN FRANCISCO (NBC Bay Area/NBC News) — A change in California’s vaccine allocation guidelines is stirring controversy.

Not your traditional medical front-line workers, but medical marijuana industry workers are now eligible for Tier 1-A, which means they can now receive a COVID-19 vaccine before school teachers and many other essential workers.

This comes as the California Teacher’s Association is releasing new ads calling for vaccines for all educators.

Teachers are currently in phase 1-B of the coronavirus vaccine distribution list.

The United Cannabis Business Association advocated for the change and the state advanced them to Tier 1-A, with other health care workers.

It says cannabis workers are providing medicine and should be prioritized.

One cannabis store owner in San Francisco says he understands the frustration, but he knows his staff has been at work during the pandemic and deserves protection.

“What we’re trying to do is just make sure we are in line to get vaccinated and if we’re deemed essential we should be able to get vaccinated and make sure all my staff is protected at any given time,” Shawn Richard, a cannabis store owner.

According to California state guidelines, only those workers who sell cannabis at medical dispensaries qualify for the vaccine in Tier 1-A.

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