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Tips for Cannabis Businesses as COVID-19 Reshapes the Industry

by Sarah Cawthon May 08, 2020

Cannabis companies have entered a new normal as the coronavirus pandemic continues to alter the industry. Most states have deemed cannabis an essential business and important sector of the health care system. As a result, many cannabis businesses have remained open and operational during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cannabis industry has always been resilient and able to pivot quickly, which likely stems from its history of ever-changing regulations. Many people in the industry are well adjusted to thinking outside of the box and partnering with local and state governments to craft solutions to new issues.

So, as the market moves through this crisis, companies are learning to develop resilience. Here are some tips for cannabis businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Find Ways to Social Distance

Remote work is nearly impossible for many sectors of the cannabis industry, meaning employees must be on-site to work with plants and sell products to consumers. shutterstock_1521109394-1

In response to safety concerns, many employers are working around shifts to ensure that employees experience minimal contact while at work. This includes extending hours into the evenings and on weekends. 

Additionally, growers are implementing vigorous cleaning regimens with scheduled periods to disinfect surfaces throughout the day. Workers are also asked to comply with markings in facilities that indicate where an employee should stand to maintain adequate social distance.

Dispensaries should also explore delivery and curbside pick-up options where regulations allow to help control contact with the public and help mitigate the spread of the virus while keeping employees and high-risk customers safe.

Digital Marketing

At a time when consumers are turning to digital content as a substitute for in-person interaction, building online relationships with consumers has never been more important or easier to accomplish.  

A captive audience in search of distraction, combined with an increase in cannabis demand means that cannabis businesses now have the opportunity to tweak and perfect their digital marketing, branding strategies and online presence.

Companies can focus on driving engagement and providing creative outlets for their consumers while they are stuck at home, which could translate to sales down the line.

Additionally, companies can consider launching campaigns to reassure customers about their cleanliness practices.

Giving Back

Across the country, many cannabis companies are making and distributing their own medical-grade hand sanitizer. One company, CannaCraft, distributed over 25,000 bottles of sanitizer to local hospitals and police department in the Santa Rosa, California, area.

In March, CannaCraft instructed company chemists to combine compounds they already had available at the plant — medical-grade alcohol and aloe vera. Their on-site lab verified that the compound was affective against SARS-CoV-2, another coronavirus.

Cannabis culture is rooted in compassion, and as sales surge for many stores across the country, cannabis retailers’ philanthropy efforts are just beginning. Many cannabis businesses have existing food bank programs that they’re supporting as millions of Americans file for unemployment and face food scarcity.

For example, the Glass House group donates 5% of product sales from its Santa Barbara adult-use store to the Santa Barbara Foodbank, and Sava, a leading delivery service in Bay Area, California, donates 10% or sales to charity partners providing protective equipment for California medical workers.

“The industry is rallying,” said CannaCraft founder Dennis Hunter. “Not just to help each other, but others.”