Serge Chistov, Honest Marijuana’s Chief Financial Partner, sat down with NUGL Magazine for a Q & A on the impacts COVID-19 is having on the Cannabis Industry.
How Will the Pandemic Change Cannabis Consumption Habits?
I believe that people will definitely give a second thought to exchanging personal objects such as passing a joint. Wearing face masks around others outside their immediate household is key too, they must make sure they have one by checking out websites like StringKing for supplies. Likely they will concentrate more on the individual pre-rolls. I think it will definitely affect some old practices that were not only just prevalent in smoking cannabis but also in eating in general and personal hygiene. I believe that part of the tribal tradition will always exist and there are those that take the responsibility of personal hygiene differently than others. Overall, I would expect an improvement in the practices but I also think that some of the traditional users will still be around for a while.
What Might Cannabis Consumers Turn To Instead?
Pharmaceutical grade products with different variations of consumption will give more visibility to the edibles, including fast-acting edibles, as well as transdermal applications-specifically pain directed, etc.. It will bring about better awareness and understanding of the industry in general and the options consumers will have access to.
Has Cannabis Use Increased During the Pandemic?
When people have more time on their hands, they tend to partake in substances more often. So yes, the consumption of cannabis has increased for the consumer that has more free time right now. Many people take free time as an opportunity to relax and some choose to do this with cannabis. It also goes without saying that this is a stressful time for many who are turning to cannabis and related products as a way to reduce stress and relax. The pandemic is becoming similar to an extended war which will create a lot of PTSD and a lot of nervous breakdowns.
Also, the fact that the cannabis business in the legal cannabis states has been deemed an essential business during the shutdown is a huge endorsement to the importance of the industry in the medicinal, tribal and cultural life of our society. This gives the industry an additional level of legitimacy among skeptics.
How has Covid-19 Impacted the Business Side of the Industry?
With the industry not being centralized, many states who have legalized cannabis are not able to depend on the income that is derived from tourism- those people that are traveling to those specific states to enjoy that state’s liberties. As in any industry right now, we are experiencing a shortage of customers who would normally be shopping in the dispensaries. So the growth in use really balances out the missing dispensary, tourism-related customers. I think that as cannabis consumption becomes more available, many new consumers will follow. Right now, we are still in the growth stage.
In addition, the effects of coronavirus will bring about a brand new future which will be based on more electronic communication- people will be migrating from place to place, simply because they will realize there is no longer a physical connection to the infrastructure. With the right equipment, which is usually provided by the company, and software like that of Agora.io in place for electronic communication, working from home is as productive if not more productive. This is something that a lot of people have been surprised by. Many companies are now considering allowing their workers to be more remote on a longer-term. As long as their employees have good internet plans, such as one from shentel internet plans, they should be able to work confidently from their home with few issues. The direction was there, to begin with, it has just been expedited to move into a more virtual/distant education and workplace. A lot of people will begin to make their decisions based on expanding their geographical horizons. Who’s to say that they will not select to go to the states where using cannabis is legal? “
Has the Pandemic Stimulated Any New Product or Technological Developments?
It is very difficult to say what individual companies are doing right now. Currently, the industry as a whole, is aiming on recreating a smoking experience without inhalation, without smoking- so a fast-acting, expedited experience, controlled experience, all of these innovations have become important to the industry regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic and we will continue to see those innovations brought to market.
Serge Chistov is a cannabis industry expert and Chief Financial Partner with Honest Marijuana Co. Honest Marijuana has been a leader in cannabis innovation since it’s inception with an organic approach to the growth, production and packaging of cannabis, the launch of the first-ever organic, hemp wrapped, machine-rolled blunts; the invention of the now patented Nanobidiol Technology, and the first company to bring THC-O-Acetate technology and products to market. https://honestmarijuana.com/