We can all agree that March has been a hard month for so many reasons — reasons we can’t explain to our friends, family, coworkers, or clients.
While it’s easy to focus on all the negatives that have come with the COVID-19 crisis, we need to focus on the positives to help us get through it. People are making a point to connect with one another, whether it’s over the phone, via Facetime or through Zoom. Teachers are getting creative as they teach their students remotely, many restaurants have shifted to their menus to take-out, people are making masks for healthcare workers, musicians are livestreaming performances and DJs are hosting virtual dance parties.
In many ways, the virus that has pushed people physically apart has brought us closer together.
Cannabis as an Essential Business
COIVD-19 has also forced government officials to think about what businesses are essential, and which aren’t. Something that is essential is “absolutely necessary” or “extremely important.” Grocery store – essential. Hair salon – non-essential. Gas station – essential. Clothing store – non-essential. Cannabis dispensary – essential.
When San Francisco Mayor London Breed first announced the city would begin its shelter in place order on March 16 that would begin the next day at 12AM, the city had designated cannabis dispensaries as non-essential businesses, and they would have to close that evening until the order was lifted. 24 hours later, her position had changed; the Department of Public Health announced the decision had been reversed, acknowledging that cannabis dispensaries are essential.
In a tweet on March 17th, the Department of Public Health stated, “Cannabis is an essential medicine for many San Francisco residents. Dispensaries can continue to operate as essential businesses during this time, while practicing social distancing and other public health recommendations.”
In all of the states where cannabis is recreationally legal, dispensaries remain open. Many have had to shift the way they do business – such as offering online ordering, curbside pickup, and delivery services, or limiting the number of people who can enter a dispensary at one time. Most states where cannabis is medicinally legal have made allowances as well – ensuring that medical card holders will have continued access to what they need.
The fact that cannabis dispensaries, which carry many different types of products – CBD, THC, CBN and alike – have been granted this designation of “essential business” is an indicator of how public interest in cannabinoids has grown in the past few years and how people are more accepting of the cannabis plant in general. Last year we saw public interest in CBD explode, followed by huge growth in the CBD marketplace, which led to oversaturation. Currently, there has been a spike in e-commerce CBD sales. After conducting a survey recently, the Brightfield Group reported that 4 in 10 CBD users planned to use CBD more frequently because of the virus. They also stated that 49% of Millennials and Gen Z consumers plan on using more CBD in the weeks and months to come. During a health crisis such as this one, people are more inclined to practice self-care for their mental and physical wellbeing – and for many, CBD and other cannabinoids are part of their daily healthcare routines.
Increased Demand and Increased Safety Protocols
There is no doubt that in the past two weeks, we’ve seen an increase in demand for cannabis products – both CBD and THC. Dispensaries in cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Denver have had a steady stream of customers in their businesses – while also being extremely diligent about people keeping a safe distance apart and only letting in a certain number of customers at a time. Dispensaries have also been creative in how best to serve their customers, including offering curbside delivery to cars pulling up outside their businesses. This not only means that sales are up in dispensaries, but for the growers and product producers supplying the dispensaries. One of our THC partners, GreenMedLabs in Washington State, which produces cannabis beverages, has seen their orders triple in the past two weeks, while online orders for Mad Tasty, a CBD sparkling beverage “powered by SōRSE”, are up 40% since March 7th.
Cannabis dispensaries being deemed essential businesses was and still is big news, especially for those who have been using cannabis for years and understand the benefits the plant has to offer. Those people have not been afraid to express themselves to government officials over the past few weeks, to say, “I need this. It is essential for my health, for my well-being. And my well-being matters.”
SōRSE — Here to Help
At SōRSE, the quality and safety of our products has always been our highest priority. As we continue essential operations through the COIVD crisis, we can confidently rely on the measures we established to ensure product safety. The processes, practices, and protocols in our Quality Management System are all the more relevant now, and we are confident that they meet or exceed all current published guidelines. Nonetheless, we added additional steps to ensure the safety of our employees and products.
When news of the virus first broke, the management team asked that all personnel not directly involved in production work from home and take all CDC recommended precautions to stay safe. We instituted additional cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces, and our co-mans have done the same. If any employee or their family member shows symptoms of COIVD-19 or any other illness, we require them to self-quarantine for 14 days. We are relieved to report that at this time, our team remains healthy and symptom-free.
It appears that we are in for another month of social distancing to flatten the curve of the spread of the virus. While we know that this situation is difficult on many levels for so many people, we want to remain positive, continue to help our customers, and keep each other’s spirits up. Next month, April, is just around the bend. It’s a time when we can make all 30 days a literal 4/20. We’ll still celebrate the cannabis plant, our essential need, and all it has to offer. We will just have to do it inside and from afar.
We know that this situation is impacting our partners in different ways. If you have questions that need answers, we’re here to help.