The cannabis industry is changing rapidly among the coronavirus crisis, with regulations and protocols changing virtually every day. One potentially positive change for cannabis workers is that Washington state has lifted its ban for allowing minors under 16 in cannabis farms and processing sites.

While the state’s schools have closed, its cannabis industry remains in operation as an “essential business.” That has left some cannabis professionals with children in a pickle: if my kids can’t go to school and I can’t bring them to work, who’s going to make sure they get fed and don’t fall down a well.

After advocacy from an industry trade group, Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) temporarily changed its policy on minors at weed sites through April 30. The ban does not allow them to work on site, just fart around, pester their parents, and play games on their phones.

The move has its critics who say the change could endanger kids and bring down legal scrutiny from the federal government. 

“I think the state could do a better job of extending safer childcare options to the workers,” Courtney Popp, a former prosecutor and board member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), told K5 Newsin Seattle.

“Parents are not going to be able to monitor their children around these substances,” Popp said, expressing concern about the effect of children at being around drugs at such an early age.

Joshua Gonzales, the cultivation manager for Walden Cannabis, told K5 he doesn’t see where the harm is. He has been bringing his 10-year-old son to the site.

“They can’t be working. They can’t be employed… There’s nothing that can go wrong. Other than there’s a room with cannabis in it, it’s a normal farm,” said Gonzales.

Photo via Flickr/Gustavo Devito

Natalie