Contributions From The Cannabis Industry During COVID-19 Quarantine

by | Apr 24, 2020

Detroiter Karhlyle Fletcher is the host of High Lit, a cannabis research and classic literature podcast featuring leading voices and independent music. In addition to years in written and video cannabis journalism, he is also a traditional author.

Amid a growing wave of criticism, it’s essential to keep in mind the bipartisan advantages of the cannabis industry, including the charity of several businesses. Cannabis is a proven medicine with distinct economic benefits and a giving community.

Cannabis, Like All Functional Portions of the Economy, is Needed

Shutting down the world has saved lives, but it’s come with a tremendous financial cost. Millions of people are out of a job and struggling to put food on the table as unreliable relief programs sluggishly roll out in many countries. For those countries where cannabis was declared an essential business, at least the industry can continue to supply employment for thousands, and yes, contribute tax revenue. 

Critics of the essential status of cannabis are quick to bring up that governments may be allowing them to continue operation for tax money, however as displayed in Michigan’s recreational market, that reality isn’t quite there. While advocates projected Michigan’s recreational market bringing in $130M in taxes annually, so far in 3 months, it’s only generated $5M. Keeping the businesses open is not a cash grab, but something to help those who medicate with cannabis and those who make a living in the cannabis industry maintains their quality of life. 

Peculiarly, the cannabis industry is subject to a litany of taxes, including vice taxes and business taxes, yet it will receive none of the COVID-19 economic stimulus package. Despite being a contributor to the United States economy, there is no relief for the cannabis industry planned. While not being the cash cow some expected it to be, the cannabis industry receives little attention and less help from America’s federal government. 

Yet, in addition to taxes and indirect economic benefits, including more currency circulating throughout the population, several cannabis companies have risen to the occasion. From contributing PPE to aiding in research, many prove the benevolent nature of the cannabis industry. 

Global Cannabinoids Delivers Clean Cannabinoids and Clean Hands

The leading US producer, manufacturer, and distributor of hemp-derived cannabinoids, Global Cannabinoids, recently formed Global Santizers LLC. In reaction to the pandemic, Global Cannabinoids took the ethanol they used to extract cannabinoids from hemp and repurposed it to make hand sanitizer. After receiving $15M in their first week of business, Global Sanitizers quickly rose to be a significant player in the hand sanitizer market. 

Such flexibility in the cannabis industry displays the quick thinking and creativity that drives this sector. Global Cannabinoids realized there was slack in the hand sanitizer supply chain, so they stepped in to make business flow, and for consumers to have the products they need. Other companies have similarly stepped up and continue to serve the demands of the economy. 

Sixth Wave Lessons Learned in Early Detection 

Vancouver, Canada-based Sixth Wave Innovation specialized in nanotechnology. While traditional extraction methods for cannabinoid isolates have about an 85% yield, Sixth Wave’s Affinity produces yields of up to 99%. The company achieves this through the use of molecularly imprinted polymers, or MIPs. These nanoscaled beads attach to a target molecule, such as THC or gold. 

Traditionally, virus testing methods look for antibodies that only show up in the body days to weeks after infection. Such tests are sufficient enough to determine if someone has the virus but may give false negatives. However, Sixth Wave secured patents for combining their MIP technology with proposed Accelerated Detection MIPs (“AMIPs”) technology for the rapid detection of virus samples. 

The potential application of this technology ranges from testing individuals to testing public surfaces. Rapid testing capable of early detection could save lives. Nanotechnology might just be the detection technology we’ve been waiting for. Sixth Wave has found themselves on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Charity is Always Worthwhile 

The world’s largest cannabis center, Planet 19, donated 2,000 meals to vulnerable seniors and disabled individuals this month in partnership with Clark County Social Services. Terrapin Care Station is donating funds to a local Colorado food bank, and several organizations are throwing live events ranging from painting classes to concerts. Another Colorado business, Good Chemistry, made a $50,000 donation to Colorado's COVID Relief Fund and United Way. Additionally, the company has promised 600 N95 makes to front-line workers in the state. During a time where fear is at a high, the cannabis industry defines itself as one of strength and compassion. 

In an interview with the Westword in Denver, Governor Jared Polis stated, “We are grateful for Good Chemistry’s contribution, and we hope it inspires others in the cannabis industry and in other industries across the state to support our ongoing relief efforts.”

With cannabis centers like Bgood are giving frontline workers raises due to the pandemic, and others like LivWell’s board are forgoing profit to keep their staff intact throughout this event. Not everyone can enjoy job security, but hundreds of thousands of people can continue living due to their jobs in the cannabis industry. There are few sweeter prizes than even a hint of security right now. 

But, for those currently unemployed, Green Flower is offering its online Cannabis Fundamentals Certificate program for free. For those looking to brush up on their skills, or finally branch into the cannabis industry, now’s the perfect time. 

Honoring the Angel Who Showed Us All the Way

In the midst of the pandemic, the industry, and all the world, lost a beacon of light and hope. Sweet Charlotte Figi, the young girl who struggled with a severe form of epilepsy, advocating for change in the way the world views cannabis and hemp medicines, passed away at only 13-years-old, due to complications from her condition and COVID-19.

The Stanley Brothers and Charlotte’s Web, the company and product line that carries Charlotte’s namesake, announced a plan this week to honor the little girl's legacy. By teaming up with their charitable partners at the Realm of Caring, Adaptive Training Foundation, and High Fives Foundation, the company pledges to give $1 million in products to help those who are struggling due to the pandemic.

In an email, CEO and co-founder, Joel Stanley stated,  “As we come together in this time of crisis and uncertainty, it’s our hope that we can also come together in love and care for one another.  We’re in this together as one planet, one family with one goal: health and wellness for all.”

To learn more about the program, visit CW’s website.