From citywide lockdowns and greater emphasis on social distancing, to increasingly empty store shelves and an economy in flux, the coronavirus has changed American life in virtually every way. For the legal cannabis sector, which has endured its share of crises in the last several months – namely EVALI and mass layoffs – the global pandemic is gearing up to be the latest to test the resiliency of the blooming industry. In this post, we explore how COVID-19 has started to impact businesses, and how these shifts could lead to a new normal for the industry.
Impacts On Supply Chain, Retail, and Industry Events
Chinese manufacturing came to a halt at the onset of the coronavirus. With various elements of the cannabis supply chain produced in China – including a reported 90-95% of vape components – cannabis brands could face the limited availability of everything from vape batteries to packaging to extraction equipment, and more. While Chinese factories begin to slowly ramp up production, cannabis business owners and operators have already started exploring other options, including manufacturing in Mexico and the U.S.
Cannabis retailers meanwhile are increasing cleaning and sanitization efforts to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. Dispensaries are also working to prioritize the needs of medical patients and are emphasizing online ordering, drive-through pick up, and delivery services as options for increasing social distancing. While there seems to be a reduction in consumer foot traffic, some dispensaries have started limiting the number of customers shopping in-store at a given time. But most telling of all, cannabis retailers are starting to see sales bumps, including more delivery transactions, as a result of consumers stocking up.
In response to increased awareness of the importance of social distancing, multiple industry events and cannabis trade shows – including Spannabis, Hall of Flowers, and CannaTech – have been postponed, while others have been canceled altogether. While it’s unclear how COVID-19 will ultimately impact future conferences and even the annual 4/20 holiday, increased usage of video conferencing and chat platforms could present fresh ways to approach networking and communication during the pandemic.
Join The Conversation
Explore how the industry is preparing for its new normal when the National Cannabis Industry Association hosts the Cannabis Business Summit, rescheduled* for September 29 – October 1, 2020 in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Celebrating 10 years of progress in the city that gave birth to the medical cannabis movement, the industry’s largest and most influential trade association presents cannabis business owners and operators the opportunity to meet industry leaders, seek products and services to help grow their business, and learn industry insights. Registration is now open for NCIA’s Cannabis Business Summit – secure your spot today!
*As concern grows about COVID-19, this is not a time for panic, but it is the time for preparation, careful consideration and making well-informed decisions. We continue to monitor the situation in the U.S, and abroad, and specifically in the cities in which our events are taking place in the coming months.
Should changes arise, we will make a notification to our members, partners, and attendee communities via email, through our website, and on our social media platforms.