WEDC: CBD stores nonessential under 'Safer at Home' order, deliveries still allowed

Posted at 12:17 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 19:26:30-04

MILWAUKEE -- CBD store owners say they're confused by contradicting stay-at-home orders.

The state says CBD stores are not considered essential businesses, but the City of Milwaukee's order says otherwise.

There are more than fifty CBD stores in the Milwaukee area, but many are operating differently under the "Safer at Home" order.

Some have temporarily closed, others are making deliveries, and a few like CBD Hemp World in West Allis are still allowing a limited number of customers inside to shop.

"We have X's marked on the floor so that people can maintain a proper social distance," said CBD Hemp World manager Angel Rivera.

But as TMJ4 News has learned from the state, CBD stores are considered non-essential and should only be open for deliveries. That's far different than the city of Milwaukee's order that Rivera was following. It lists CBD stores as essential healthcare operations.

"I'm looking for some clarification and some uniformity so that it's clear what we can and cannot do," Rivera said.

CBD store confusion: Essential or non-essential?

State lawmakers told TMJ4 News that the state's order supersedes municipal orders.

WEDC said CBD stores "may operate under the same 'Minimum Basic Operations' as all other non-essential businesses and operations," which "does not include serving customers in person."

Your businesses may continue “Minimum Basic Operations.” Under Section 14 of the order, provided that employees comply with Social Distancing Requirements, your business may carry out the following operations:

1) The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business's inventory, preserve the condition of the business's physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions, including where these functions are outsourced to other entities, and

2) The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.
-Wisconsin Economic Development Council (WEDC)

Beyond Full Spectrum in Whitefish Bay was in compliance Wednesday, posting a sign saying it would only be allowing deliveries.

Canni Hemp Co. on Milwaukee's south side posted a similar message to its customers:

"I get the confusion, 100%," said Canni Hemp Co. owner Colin Plant on Milwaukee's south side. "For those of us operating in the City of Milwaukee, we kind of were under the assumption that we were okay to stay open."

Plant said he's now following the state's order with signs on his store's door that say customers aren't allowed inside, but curbside pickup and deliveries are still available within 10 miles.

"We're in the business of anti-anxiety, and so right now, I think a lot of people are very much on edge, and our products seem to help balance people in that way," Plant said.

Under the state order, when non-essential businesses make deliveries, they aren't supposed to have any contact with customers. WEDC said signatures by the recipient aren't even allowed.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were more than 1,600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, with 34 deaths statewide.

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