COVID-19: California prioritises medicinal cannabis workers in vaccination rollout

Cannabis oil.
Cannabis oil. Photo credit: Getty

Medicinal cannabis workers are now included in some of the highest prioritisation tiers as California rolls out its vaccination programme. 

Those in the medicinal cannabis industry are now eligible to be vaccinated alongside healthcare workers in Phase 1a, according to guidelines updated by the California Department of Public Health on February 4.

Yet according to local media, it's unclear where county health departments will reflect the change and shift workers to the front of the line. 

Those working in food and agriculture for growing, production, storage, transport and distribution also became eligible for Phase 1b, a tier that includes people aged 65 and over and those working in emergency services, childcare and education - placing cannabis workers ahead of teachers. 

Medical cannabis workers will be vaccinated "as necessary in Phase 1b, Tier 1, by nature of their designations in eligible essential workforce classifications," the state said.

According to local media, the frequent reshuffling of the state's criteria for vaccine eligibility has led to frustration among Californians. The decision to prioritise age, announced by state Governor Gavin Newsom in late January, sparked outrage from those aged under 65 with underlying health conditions.

The latest decision comes amid growing calls for teachers to be shifted to the top tier. The majority of schools in the state have remained closed since March 2020, taking a particular toll on young and special needs' students.