Marijuana Business Magazine May-June 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine | May-June 2020 60 & W hen the coronavirus bore down, cannabis businesses in many states were granted the right to continue operating as “essen- tial businesses” in the vein of hospitals, pharmacies and grocery stores. Many responded to the challenge with a variety of strategies to keep consumers safe. Here’s a sampling: Postpone Events and Take Them Online: Among the first things that became clear in the COVID-19 outbreak was that 4/20 celebrations and revenue-generating events such as conferences, seminars and store grand openings had to be canceled. Many organizers moved events online, signaling what the post-coronavirus future might look like. Increased Sanitation: Many marijuana cultivation and extraction facilities already took sanitation seriously, with employees wearing gloves, masks and shoe coverings and taking other precautions to keep facilities clean. For them, not many changes were required. But the pandemic mandated that retailers adopt many of the same sanitary practices that their grow and product-manufacturing colleagues already practiced. Many marijuana businesses purchased sanitizer, antiseptic wipes, plastic gloves and other sanitation supplies in bulk. They also wiped down cash registers more frequently—in some cases, after every transaction. Others provided hand sanitizers for customer use throughout their stores. Instead of having customers hand identification to its staff, Massachusetts- based Mayflower Medicinals asked consumers to place the ID cards on a clipboard so employees wouldn’t have to touch them. Theory Wellness, which has three locations in Massachusetts, introduced a gloved doorman to open doors for customers, while budtenders were no longer allowed to offer customers a sample whiff of product. “We’re trying to minimize the touch points between patients and customers and employees,” said Thomas Winstanley, director of marketing at Theory Wellness. Increased Physical Distancing: To abide by physical-distancing recommendations, many cannabis retailers capped the number of customers who could be inside their stores at any one time, a practice that was later adopted by grocery stores and other mainstream retail outlets deemed “essential businesses” allowed to stay open. Sira Naturals in Somerville, Massachusetts, capped the number of customers on its sales floor at 15, while the Chai Cannabis Co., which has retail outlets in Castroville and Santa Cruz, California, limited its sales activities to three budtenders and three customers at a time. Many stores also added tape on the floor to indicate where customers should stand to maintain a By Omar Sacirbey Safe Keeping Informed From drone-based delivery to mini-pre-rolls, executives use creative solutions to stay in business during the COVID-19 outbreak Pandemic Pivot Green Cross CBD in Austin, Texas, enlisted a drone to achieve no-contact deliveries. Courtesy Photo