Since the dawn of time, man has always woken up to a wide array of diseases and viruses. Most of which have claimed thousands and even millions in their wake. While these diseases brought tears to nations and households, researchers and physicians have never had a day off until they found a lasting solution to the problem.
The Advent of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Though viruses have come and gone, with some haven’t claimed more lives than others, the COVID-19, on the other hand, succeeded in making the world tremble. Scenarios and stories only found in Hollywood movies caught the world by storm. Forcing the entire universe to a shutdown (jobs loss, factories closed, sporting events canceled, and many more) as well as making humans wonder the direction in which the world is headed to.
Cannabis through Covid-19
While the world wasn’t prepared for another pandemic, it is still amazing how the health sectors and its personnel in most parts of the world are fighting for a lasting solution and a vaccine for the virus. Although the virus hit Canada the hardest in the month of April, sandwiched with the shutdown of a wide array of businesses, one sector that used this pandemic to its advantage was the cannabis industry.
During this period, most cannabis firms demonstrated maturity, dismantle biases, as well as solidified their roles in the economy, communities, and in the lives of the people. Amidst these challenges, the last couple of weeks showed glimpses of better days ahead for the sector. One that will help position the cannabis business as well as prepping it for long-term success in a multitude of ways.
Cannabis as an Essential Business
During the lockdowns in the Canada, the cannabis industry, unlike other industries, notched a significant victory. One reason why the authorities deemed the cannabis business essential during this period was due to the medicinal potencies associated with the cannabis plant. With that in mind, most of these medical cannabis dispensaries made cannabis available for adult-use sales sandwiched by restrictions geared toward health and safety.
In Toronto, for instance, adult-use sales are limited curbside pickup, while in Vancouver and Calgary, cannabis for adults-use is obtained by making purchases online with the goods delivered at your doorsteps. While cannabis is “essential” in some states for medical or recreational use sales, states, as well as a wide array of local authorities, made an important declaration on many levels. This designation was to help blunt the negative prejudice associated with cannabis, as well as the legal variety, for quite some time.
Cannabis Dispensaries like Traditional Pharmacies
Due to the advent of the coronavirus, legal cannabis now relates fairly to traditional pharmaceuticals. Notably in areas where adult-use retailers now serve as designated “essential”, like groceries. Amongst other things, it should be worth noting that, these products are necessary for persons in dire need of them. Notably, those who use the drug as medicine, taking to mind the stigmas of criminality as well as the vice plaguing the cannabis industry.
With that said, the “essential” classification is authenticating for a wide array of persons who turn to legal cannabis products as a panacea for a wide array of their ailments. This is certainly a win-win for patients, consumers, retailers as well as the management of dispensaries.
New Regulatory Maturity
In some of the more entrenched markets like Toronto and Vancouver, the “essential” classification is a sign in the right direction when it comes to regulatory maturity.
Based on research findings, officials and licensed businesses most often than not displayed and demonstrated trust issues in many cases, sandwiched by outright animosity. With that in the past now, today brings a breath of fresh air with regulators in collaboration with the cannabis industry are working hand in gloves to keep businesses open and operational.
Just weeks after the enforced lockdowns and stay home campaigns in the Canada, a wide array of provinces have released a multitude of guidelines and emergency measures. Most of which is to aid the acquisition of cannabis and cannabis-related products in these states. With the most common being.
- Provisions allowing for curbside pickup
- Expedited ID cards, and or telehealth
While these developments are new to the cannabis industry, the change is eventually here and taking everyone by storm. Considering such trust takes years to build, the quick turnaround of these new rules signals a step in the right direction and breathes a new era of trust for one another.
Cash Related Problems
Dues to the preventive measures put in place the world health organization to aid curb the spread of the Covid-19; handling of money during this period is widely discouraged. As such, a wide array of businesses across the national territory are trying their bid to curb the exchange of cash until it is safe to do so. With that in mind, online payments are hugely encouraged.
While this seems like a step in the right direction, this new way of doing business is proving very challenging for the legal cannabis trade. Most of them operate on a cash-only business championed by the fact that cannabis remains a Schedule I drug at the federal level. All of which prohibits the industry from dealing with federally overseen banks and credit card companies.
This, of course, is a testament to why most cannabis businesses are hot spots for criminals. All of which have intensified in recent times because of the hand-to-hand exchange of cash. It should be worthy to note that, this doesn’t only attract thieves but serves a fantastic medium through which the coronavirus can be spread.
The Way Forward
Amidst all that has happened, it is almost impossible to spot a bright side for the legal cannabis industry in these trying times. However, should cannabis firms continue to work hand in gloves with the regulators and authorities that be; sales will continue to hit record heights. As such, one can only imagine what lies ahead when all of this is over.