The global concern for the novice yet devastating virus known as COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, has knocked us all on our collective butts. Disrupting supply chains and causing major cannabis event cancellations, the cannabis industry, like the rest of the world, was not ready for this crisis.
From SXSW to CannaCon Detroit, if you were looking forward to it in cannabis events this year, it’s likely canceled. Everywhere. And for good reason, too. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), this novel virus is easily transmittable “between people who are in close contact with one another (within roughly 6 feet)” and can last for days on surfaces, which many cannabis events proudly have: tons of surfaces, even more people.
What is COVID-19 Coronavirus?
COVID-19 is a global pandemic with cases of over 210 thousand worldwide, reported by Johns Hopkins’ Coronavirus Resource Center, who’s online tracking system is counting reported confirmed cases in real time. Different parts of the United States are seeing varying levels of infection making it imperative to keep isolated as much as possible as a public health response.
How is COVID-19 Transmitted?
COVID-19 is thought to spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. This is why the suggested distance of at least 6ft stands and impacts the cannabis industry and any public gatherings so badly.
It may also be “possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads” the CDC also reports.
Cannabis Event Cancellations
At the advice of the State of Michigan and as “participants safety is of the utmost importance”, CannaCon Detroit was officially postponed. Until this extraordinary virus normalizes and it is safe to gather in large groups, it’s advised to engage with relevant and up-to-date information on CannaCon.org and the Center for Disease Control’s website.
Having worked with CannaCon for the past three years, Mother, entrepreneur and Top 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan, Jamie Cooper, founder of Cannabiz Connection says that CannaCon acted quickly and “did a great job communicating with vendors and speakers”. Cooper, who was set to speak on using influence to effect positive political and social change, says that “situations like this force us to adapt” and that “during a crisis, it’s important to be an island of sanity in a sea of chaos”.
The Coronavirus and Cannabis
Although rigorous hand washing is said to be the best defense against the virus, there are other precautions you can be taking as a conscious cannabis consumer. First, we cannot stress the importance of not sharing smokeables during this time enough. Secondly, no fist bumps or joint passing. The quickest way to share a virus like COVID-19 is via saliva. Don’t do it. Period.
How You Can Stay Safe, Yet Engaged
Like cannabis legalization, COVID-19 has swept the country with or without our permission and because of the severity of this new public health threat, if you want to stay safe, it is best to self-quarantine. All of us. Improperly executed quarantines are counterproductive. As seen in the case of “the crew and passengers of the ship the Diamond Princess, which resulted in over 700 infections”, according to Dr. Liji Thomas. While quarantined, the ship holding x people, was a breeding ground for the novel virus, said to be transmitted from the hand of food service workers.
“Most people will use the Coronavirus as an excuse not to do something or to not work, however, our elected officials are still making decisions about marijuana in their communities,” further explained Cooper. “Municipalities have a lot of control when it comes to cannabis accessibility and it’s our responsibility as patients and advocates, to stand up for our right to have access to medicine that helps us, even during difficult times”. She reminds us just how much can get accomplished “by picking up the phone, emailing someone or by scheduling a video conference”, all conveniently at our disposal during this time of mass quarantine and cannabis event cancellations.