COVID-19 has devastated even the most developed countries in the world, decimating the economy and bringing non-essentials to a halt. It has affected almost every aspect of our lives and the difference between how we live now and how we lived before the outbreak is staggering. Everyone is walking around wearing non-disposable/disposable face masks and gloves, etc. to try and prevent the contamination of others. People are having to socially distance and also limit the number of people they see, including extended family. Many people are now working remotely from the safety of their own homes and much of the learning going on around the world right now is done online. This can be challenging for both those trying to teach and those trying to learn, but it is possible if the correct software and setups are used. Most importantly, it is definitely much safer for all involved. Head to writeyboards.com to learn much more about online learning if you are interested. But for now, let’s take a look at how COVID-19 has affected the cannabis industry.
The cannabis industry is also majorly impacted, falling under the pharmaceutical and agricultural domains, which fall in the essentials category. Here is how the COVID 19 Pandemic has changed the cannabis industry.
Practicing Social Distancing
Several cannabis companies have issued guidelines for their cannabis growing facility to practice social distancing among employees. In addition, many employers in the industry are giving their employees a protective visor. Many health experts say a protection visor is worth looking at to help them reduce the risk of infection. Similarly, many businesses have resorted to reducing staff working hours and the number of personnel they deploy to harvest or keep the plant in check. They aim to keep the supply chain running while complying with the necessary precautionary measures to prevent spreading the virus. Most countries are trying to make cannabis available to users, especially those with chronic conditions, to help them navigate the pandemic in better health.
Most dispensaries are trying to cut down on the workforce and establish safe sales protocols to ensure they can still make products available for customers. The government enforced home quarantine has shown an increase in the consumption of cannabis products.
E-commerce delivery has seen a drastic rise in all countries with a specific demand for groceries and medical products. Safe shopping from the ease of their homes without risking exposure to the virus has encouraged more shoppers to pick delivery alternatives.
Cannabis is not left behind with a surge in online orders. With some states declaring marijuana as essential and keeping the stores open, businesses are rushing to adopt cannabis delivery practices to encourage sales.
Enabling customers to place orders through the web or telephone that can then be delivered to their home the same day makes for safer shopping experiences for customers, resulting in an overall boost in sales and customer base. Delivery drivers have shared that their working hours have increased dramatically since COVID-19 and that customers are grateful to have their orders delivered to their doorsteps.
By deploying delivery drivers who follow proper social distancing protocols to reduce contact during the sales process, businesses are sustaining during this pandemic.
Telemedicine and curbside pickup service are on the rise in several states. Some states have seen a surge in telemedicine for patients to obtain medical marijuana cards to purchase products. Many dispensaries are also now offering curbside pickup service to customers so they do not have to enter the store and can still buy products.
The grow shops are also seeing better demand because of the pandemic. More people are now buying seeds to cultivate their cannabis plants at home. It is far more common to see people purchase green crack feminized seeds for their use at their homes since COVID-19.
Consumption trends are drastically shifting in many COVID affected countries. A survey by the AmericanMarijuana.org consists of 1000 self-identified medical cannabis users, and recreational cannabis users showed over 40 percent of respondents say that their consumption volumes remain the same as before. About 29 percent suggest that they are consuming more. The industry has also seen an increase in new user consumption since COVID-19.
The first change in behavior is majorly towards sharing cannabis equipment and joints. Many fear that this could transmit infections, and about 70 percent of them say that they have stopped sharing blunts, bongs, mouthpiece, joints, vape pens.
The stock market for cannabis has also been affected and has behaved reactively to the situation. Cannabis company stocks have seen steeper losses compared to other markets but have also responded quickly to market upticks. Given it is a newly evolving market, companies in the cannabis supply chain could lose money due to restrictions imposed on the industry and a slow economy.
While it is true that many businesses are suffering due to the pandemic, many have also shown increasing revenue due to quick thinking and new measures to prepare for self-quarantine. For example, enabling delivery channels early, combining grocery deliveries with cannabis or other medicine deliveries, video calling infrastructure, and increased production while adhering to government advised safety precautions are some of the measures taken by prominent companies.
Many new and small companies have had been able to pivot and make quick changes to their business models to adapt to the changing federal and local policies and requirements. Additionally, businesses are marketing to a broader audience than before, which reflects in the surge in their revenues.
Demand and Supply
There has been a tremendous uproar of demand for cannabis for both recreational and medicinal purposes. With the unpredictability of the lockdown, people have started hoarding supplies to last them for months, which has impacted the supply chain hard.
The classical model of economics dictates that when a commodity’s demand rises, companies tend to decrease prices to gain market share. But in this unprecedented situation, companies reluctantly have had to increase the prices to account for delivery prices, inflation, and the rising cost of doing business, and in some cases, to retain the workforce.
Many companies have doubled the shifts of their growers, increased packaging machinery, and have adopted new business models where production and delivery are key. Their biggest fear, however, is running out of the products.
Companies are expecting the government to help with the situation by providing financial relief packages to aid with production or deliveries. The unmatched demand and supply levels have triggered individual growers to start black market sales to sustain their business.
Whether it is medicinal or recreational, the government’s recent statements start to eliminate the negative bias over the use of cannabis persisting over decades now.
This step indicates that the government embraces the necessity of the product for those who use it, eliminating the stigma of criminality that affects the industry. States are continuing to develop innovative means to utilize technology to make cannabis available during the pandemic.
Many medicinal and recreational cannabis consumers have started questioning companies and authorities regarding the demand and supply of cannabis. The most important thing for these businesses is keeping their employees safe so their companies can continue functioning. Measures adopted by the cannabis supply chain to accommodate the changes in the industry can help companies to survive.
About the author: Rebecca is a cannabis and health industry consultant who frequently writes about the latest trends in the industry with only one motive that is to create awareness about healthy living. She has been writing for a long time now and is becoming a recognized name in the cannabis industry.