A classic case of liberal priorities…
California recently updated its coronavirus vaccine guidelines, placing medical marijuana workers higher up in priority than some teachers, bus drivers and food and agricultural workers.
As reported by the Orange County Register, the decision drew backlash from educators, but celebration from those in the medical marijuana industry.
“Cannabis delivery drivers before school bus drivers and teachers? Makes no sense to me,” Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner tweeted.
Cannabis delivery drivers before school bus drivers and teachers? Makes no sense to me.https://t.co/p0SqQopuH1
— Austin Beutner (@AustinLASchools) February 11, 2021
“Cannabis industry employees are included in Phase 1a for medicinal cannabis and Phase 1b Food and Agriculture for growing, production, storage, transport and distribution,” the guidelines read.
“Medical cannabis workers should be accommodated as necessary in Phase 1b, Tier 1, by nature of their designations in eligible essential workforce classifications.”
Though the guidelines are through the California Department of Health, some counties in the Golden State have opted not to follow them.
Jessica Good, a spokesperson for Orange County Health Care Agency, said the office is not currently vaccinating medical marijuana retail workers at its distribution sites, The Hill reports. San Diego is also holding back.
United Cannabis Business Association President Jerred Kiloh argued that the 30,000 medical marijuana retail workers service about 300,000 patients and customers per day, therefore should be vaccinated.
“We need to protect them as front-line workers, because that’s what they are,” he said. “It was a win for the cannabis industry to be put into the medical side of things.”
Meanwhile, schools across the state remain closed, taking a toll on the mental health of students.
Edison High School teacher Mike Walters said teachers are too essential to be skipped over by cannabis industry workers.
“Teachers should be prioritized ahead of the cannabis dispensaries,” said Walters. “We’re kind of on the front lines with these kids on a daily basis. I hope the quicker we get this vaccine to teachers then the quicker we can get all kids back in the classroom, instead of just a few of them.”
Though the CDC has previously stated that teachers do not need to be vaccinated in order for schools to safely reopen, teachers’ unions across the country are hesitant to return to in-person learning until vaccines are widely available for teachers.
It is critical to reopen schools. Not only are students being robbed of an in-person education, they are missing out on critical emotional development and social interaction.
A CDC study found that across the country between April and October of 2020, the percentage of emergency room mental health visits increased by 24 percent for those between the ages of five and 11, and 31 percent for those between the ages of 12 and 17, Business Insider reports.