We are all aware of the pandemic currently affecting the entire world. Each one of us is getting used to the new way of life. Small changes from systematic grocery trips to stocking up foods with more shelf life, we’re all doing it. As we get used to the new “normal”, everyone is having difficulty adjusting to the situation. As people are beginning to spend more time indoors and not socializing as much, there are other activities that they are spending their time on.
With this sudden unexpected change, the anxiety levels of people have also gone up and it is taking a toll on people’s mental health. As many Provinces and States in North America took a call on why and if at all cannabis is an essential business, The New York Times almost went to the extent of saying that for some people cannabis is as necessary as milk and bread. Of the 33 states in the US where cannabis is legal there are differing state-imposed limitations and rules for each. States like Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington have legalized recreational cannabis use in addition to medical use. Whereas in Canada, weed has been legalized since 2018.
The consumption of alcohol and cannabis has gone up considerably during the lockdown. Just like with sanitizers and toilet paper, people are panic buying weed too. Pharmacies are open during the pandemic to cater to patients and, similarly, cannabis dispensaries and stores have been kept open. Canada has a total of 342 Federal Cannabis licenses that are open, in some capacity, during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Provinces Open in Canada
States Open in USA
Now more than ever, people are consuming more as they find it difficult to cope with the stress and maintain good mental health. Cannabis dispensaries are no exception and as with other public places and stores, they too must thoroughly sanitize the space and maintain social distancing. Sellers must wear masks and gloves and follow all the required rules and regulations. Like other businesses, cannabis dispensaries have also started using new means of customer interaction such as call ahead and curbside pickups. Due to provincial regulations home delivery of cannabis is not permitted, which may be a blessing in disguise for cannabis retailers that would otherwise need for delivery staff in addition to their regular in-store personnel.
When some of the States like Colorado, California and Ontario went back and forth on the “essential” status of cannabis in their respective states, panic and lines ensued as customers rushed to stock up. In that state of mind and with the sudden increase in customers, stores struggled to service the lines, which led to a lack of social distancing in many cases. This decline in COVID best practices resulted in an increased risk of spreading the virus. To make matters worse, these state-imposed decisions were made over a short span of time sending people into a frenzy by not allowing them to plan ahead.
The essential business status of the cannabis industry is, very much, in the best interest of governments wanting to monitor and control the consumption and purchasing patterns of marijuana. If it wasn’t classified as an essential business, especially in these tough times, the demand would go up as people stockpile their supply and there would be a surge in illegal and unregulated cannabis purchases. People would obviously find ways to get pot and the number of purchases from black market dealers would increase considerably. One would argue that this is the best opportunity governments have had since legalization began to convert customers from black market to licensed dispensaries.
Having businesses at all levels of the cannabis industry permitted to stay open during the lockdown is a win-win situation for everyone. Those that require it for medical conditions don’t have to worry about running out of their medication. Others who are using it for mental therapy and well-being can also maintain their health and safety and still continue using it responsibly. With proper governance and COVID guidelines in place, the cannabis industry will continue to keep their businesses open, their staff employed and the public in supply of this essential product.
As a supplier of harvesting automation solutions, CenturionPro is committed to continue servicing customers during the COVID-19 crisis. By doing so we hope to improve the automation of the world’s cannabis producers. Allowing them to meet the growing demand while still complying with government-imposed restrictions and recommendations. To speak with us about how to improve harvesting automation at your farm or facility, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-855-535-0558 or 1.604.457.1101.