Furthering a collective attempt to “Flatten the Curve” of COVID-19, millions of jobs across the US ended abruptly as non-essential businesses were forced to suspend operations last week. An overwhelming bulk of America’s workforce has ground to an unexpected halt, but with the help of delivery services, some organizations have found a way to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.
Self-isolation, shelter-in-place, home quarantine – simply put, Americans have been ordered to stay where they live, and to limit any live social interactions with one another. Grocery stores remain open, though some are allowing just a limited number of shoppers inside at a time. Service workers such as doctors, bus drivers and firefighters are still filling their posts, but those of us who are now working from home or newly unemployed may not be leaving their domiciles much these days, save the occasional walk around the block or supply-run. These conditions have led to a veritable watershed moment in the delivery industry; a deluge of business opportunities that has OG’s Amazon.com and Instacart poised to experience an exponential growth spurt, with each company seeking to fill 100,000 and 300,000 positions, respectively.
In a Herculean effort to stay relevant as coronavirus frightens consumers into stockpiling nothing but the bare essentials, a growing number of businesses are discovering that they cannot exist unless they are able to offer their commodities by means of takeout or delivery. The marijuana industry as a whole is quickly evolvingto remain intact. California’s sales spiked over 150%, a jump which rivals business on Black Friday or 4/20. Ganja Goddess Delivers, a cannabis delivery service which was ahead of the curve in this struggle, delivers from state to state and has reported sales spikes between 20% – 50%. Some dispensaries, such as Portland Metro’s Chalice Farms have reached out to with messages of support to their loyal customers in the past weeks, extending reassurances that they are to be counted amongst those striving to do their part, not just in surviving, but also in helping the economy – and its consumers – fight against the devastating impact this crisis is having life as we’ve always known it.
COVID-19 is revamping the Marijuana Industry not only in America’s business sector, but also within its political arena, as the pandemic has influenced some states to rethink their policies toward recreational weed. Medical cannabis may be consumed legally in 33 states, and recreationally in 11 of those states. In the wake of non-essential business closures, states like Oregon, Nevada, and California have opted to designate both recreational and medical cannabis sales as essential. Illinois, which recently became legal, was briefly on the list of states allowed to sell cannabis to non-medical users, but within two days consumers “panic-bought” $5 million worth of products, resulting in the stoppage of recreational sales in that state.
Massachusetts is the only state so far to put any and all recreational marijuana sales on hiatus. According to Governor Charlie Baker, the logic for this order has to do with the fact that Massachusetts happens to border states where recreational marijuana is still illegal. This distinction lures cannabis users from neighboring states, packing shops and prolonging customer wait times. Any recreational cannabis purchased would also be at risk of being resold to the black market. In response to these new regulations, Marijuana leaders are protesting this decision, alleging discrimination against adult recreational cannabis users. The Boston Globe published the following quote from a statement made by president of the Commonwealth Dispensary Association, David Torrisi:
“two-thirds of customers use cannabis for management of medical conditions and symptoms.”
“This loss of access would be akin to losing out on over-the counter-remedies for many,” penned Torrisi. “For others, cannabis provides a small measure of relaxation which can help to ease the anxieties we are all facing during this time, much like a glass of wine to unwind at the end of the day”.
Spring Break was canceled this year. On the horizon lie Easter & 4:20, two of the biggest consumer events of the spring. With guidelines stating no more than 10 people may be allowed in a group at a time, social distancing is giving rise to virtual gatherings. One such case is with the Virtual Corks and Canvas Event to be held on April 20, 2020, otherwise known as the “Stoner’s Holiday”.
Tech enthusiasts are finding ways to keep some semblance of community together via the web, engaging one another in activities such as sharing hilarious meme dumps, or by attending intimate home-performed concerts, dubbed as “social distance sessions” by Rob Thomas. Students can meet in interactive live zoom webinars, and even sync up to take fitness classes together. In closing, whether it be for fun, exercise, entertainment or business, staying connected right now can help everyone better able to receive as well as provide support to their fellow man, in every sense of the word.