Weed Up, Hoes Down in Whitmer’s Michigan – By Collin Anderson (Free Beacon) / April 15 2020
Critics say Democratic governor’s stay-at-home order is arbitrary and favors big businesses
Michigan’s Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer is facing bipartisan criticism of a stay-at-home order that shuttered gardening stores but deemed marijuana dispensaries and lottery ticket vendors “essential” to coping with the coronavirus.
Business owners are criticizing Whitmer’s executive order, which went into effect April 9, as overly restrictive. While the governor has developed a national profile during the pandemic thanks in part to a feud with President Donald Trump, her critics point to the order’s practical inconsistencies. The order allows for the in-person sale of alcohol and lottery tickets, as well as curbside sales of marijuana, but forcibly closes local businesses selling hardware supplies and gardening seeds, which critics argue allow residents to be more self-sufficient. The policy even extended to the inside of grocery and department stores deemed essential, as businesses roped off “nonessential” sections to comply with the governor’s order.
Stores in Summit County like Walmart and Target are only selling essential items, like groceries and pharmaceuticals. You can order other items online for curb-side pickup, which helps to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Read the @COPublicRadio: https://t.co/shoH1xvLW8 pic.twitter.com/FS58enL5Er
— Summit County, CO (@SummitCountyGov) April 8, 2020
Whitmer acknowledged the criticism in a press conference on Monday but declined to ease the restrictions, stressing the need to “keep doing what we need to do to get past this moment.”
“I understand the incredible hardship that people are going through. The worry about your job, the depression of isolation … the confusion of just trying to figure out why you can buy a lottery ticket and not seeds. I get it. It’s tough,” Whitmer said. “But those days where we can resume some normalcy, they are on the horizon if we keep doing what we need to do to get past this moment.”
The backlash comes in the midst of the governor’s semi-public audition for a slot on the Democratic presidential ticket. After a March feud with President Trump, outlets from Politico to NBC News and the New York Times have praised Whitmer’s leadership during the pandemic.
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