COVID-19 Cannabis 2020

by | Mar 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.

The modern world hasn't seen a pandemic for decades. Now, as borders shut and public life halts, millions of jobs are at risk. Cannabis sits as an uneasy victor. 

COVID-19 Quarantine's Unfortunate Casualties

Even the most resilient contributors to the industry cannot disobey bans against gatherings larger than a certain amount. From the Institute of Cannabis Research delaying their 2020 Conference until sometime this August to SXSW outright canceling, conferences and events are a bust.

Other postponements and cancelations include: 

  • International Cannabis Business Conference in Berlin, moved to July. 
  • ICR Conference at Colorado State University-Pueblo, rescheduled to August
  • CAIS in Barcelona, Spain, postponed until 2021
  • NOCO Hemp Expo delayed until August 
  • Hemp-CBD Supplement Congress postponed indefinitely by the American Herbal Products Association
  • 4/20 Broward Festival, postponed
  • Spannabis Barcelona, which had 25,000 people last year, postponed
  • 420 Vancouver, canceled 
  • National Cannabis Risk Management Association Conference, postponed 

The range of alterations covers conferences aimed at the consumer and conferences around the research. Losing this month of communication is a hiccup for the world of medical development, recreational enjoyment, and business growth. There's no silver lining in this scenario, but it's not an issue that is unique to the cannabis industry. 

Annoying cancelations are expected in a world where even museums, gyms, and bars are closed. The cannabis industry employs 211,000 Americans. Losing these events threatens small businesses and rising research the most, which will not receive the attention they deserve. 

Overlooked Casualties Of The COVID-19 Emergency

Highlighted by work done by nonprofits such as Code for America, the United States' prison system is filled with people who deserve to be set free for cannabis-related charges. While everyone else has to abide by social distancing, inmates are incapable of doing so. Those who are disadvantaged are hardest hit by crises such as COVID-19. Prisoners are the most disadvantaged by living in close quarters with limited hygienic options. The cannabis industry must remember those who are unfairly serving time for cannabis-related charges. 

When COVID Kills, Not Even Stocks Are Safe 

What is the corona cannabis economy? In a word, strained. The optimism of eager 2018 and 2019 investments was already starting to morph into skepticism, and a global pandemic doesn't help. Those who recently bought in are currently waiting to see how the industry balances out.

Overall the cannabis industry has enjoyed impressive growth over the last decade. While some firms and brands may run the risk of closing due to restrained capital, many winners will continue to win. Value, in virtually all stocks, is down right now. Once the economy evens out as a whole, cannabis will retain its unique position as a medicine.

With a global mood of realism, those looking to gain stocks for fair, if not excellent, rates in companies that are likely to survive the crisis are in luck

Manufacturers and those involved in multinational businesses face trying times. With strict restrictions on trade and the closing of borders, souring items such as vape parts internationally has become nearly impossible. China has supplied a significant percentage of vape batteries and cartridges to the American market, and currently, that can't continue. 

The European Union, Mexico, Libya, Australia, Russia, Ghana, Spain, Peru, and Canada have closed their borders. Orchestrating business between countries has been put on hold. Domestic production, and domestic products, will have to drive the cannabis industry through the pandemic. 

With COVID Pressure, Sales Are Up

Throughout the world, patients are making their demand for cannabis as an essential medicine clear. Some businesses are struggling to deliver, but delivery services and cannabis stores offering them are seeing incredible demand.

Winning policies during this time from the Netherlands to San Jose include allowing cannabis businesses, whether they are coffeehouses or dispensaries, to do pickup or curbside delivery. Currently, open stores often only take patients who schedule a time to come in and suggest those in long lines, wait in their car. Such strategies allow for appropriate social distancing, and cannabis to enjoy its rightful status as an essential business. 

The reliance of patients in times of crisis on the cannabis industry proves it to be as instrumental as a pharmacy. Washington dispensaries had a 23% increase in sales on Friday, 33% on Sunday, and are up 22% for the week. Some Chicagan medical cannabis stores saw sales surpass typical April 20th traffic. These sales are being made in Chicago, while some stores restrict business to medical patients. However, Chicago officials announced it's legal to sell medical cannabis outside of the store to promote social distancing. 

Grocery stores and liquor stores are still essential businesses running through the pandemic. These businesses empower social cohesion either by allowing individuals to enjoy a semblance of their preferred lifestyle or by providing necessities. Cannabis businesses are no different. If alcohol and tobacco are essential goods, cannabis certainly is, but cannabis centers that restrict sales to medical patients do so for a good reason. Marijuana is a medicine and imperative for those who rely on it for the good of their health.

Despite the upward trend in sales, the coming year poses serious questions. 2020 was already a challenging year for cannabis stocks, and now with casualties to the social distancing the industry has already experienced, the situation is unclear.

A Fundamental Threat To American Cannabis

While other industries will receive help surviving the pandemic by the federal government of America, the cannabis industry may receive no assistance due to the illegality of cannabis federally. Such a policy means that the state governments alone will have to provide economic aid to the cannabis businesses. The federal government's neglectful treatment of the cannabis industry may ensure the closure of several companies in the long term. 

Only time will tell how deep the wound is to cannabis, as well as the economy in general, but in these trying times, we must maintain hope for a better future.

Did you know? 

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