April 28, 2020 Regulatory News
We’re living through stressful and confusing times. Everything is closed, the news is changing every hour, and we’re all stuck at home bored out of our minds. This era of uncertainty could lead to a new normal for cannabis after coronavirus.
Luckily, most jurisdictions across the U.S. have allowed both medical and recreational dispensaries (and the businesses that supply and support them) to stay open, with restrictions. That means most of you can still get some cannabis to help take your mind off of things.
For businesses in the industry, you likely now have a lot more rules and special conditions to follow and keep track of. At Simplifya, it’s our job to stay on top of rule changes, so we know first hand how often these new rules are changing. While most states and localities have extended their stay at home orders, many are adding new rules when they do so.
To date, we have released 100 COVID-19 updates across 52 different state and local jurisdictions, and things are changing by the day.
Essential, Yet Illegal
Many states have deemed cannabis essential and are allowing businesses to stay open. However, the federal government tends to disagree and cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. Until now, the industry has dealt with high tax rates and the other burdens state and federal conflict presents, but the pandemic is pushing some to the edge.
Data suggests that retailers in Massachusetts could be missing out on almost $2 million each day they stay closed due to the state’s March 24th emergency order. Others, such as retailers in California, are seeing fluctuating sales and having trouble meeting the sometimes subjective restrictions placed on them.
Despite this, the cannabis industry and many ancillary companies have been left out of any stimulus bills. Businesses in our industry are not eligible for PPP loans or other Small Business Administration resources. Lobbyists seem hopeful that relief could come in the future, and some members of Congress are pushing the issue, but only time will tell.
While we all wait to see what happens next, companies across the U.S. are doing what they can to help out now. Some companies in the industry are making donations to those in need and changing their operations to make much-needed supplies for front line workers.
Businesses from Massachusetts to California have shifted some of their manufacturing space to make hand sanitizer. Those companies are then donating the sanitizer to healthcare workers. Others are donating sanitation supplies, such as lab gowns, to local hospitals. Elsewhere, companies are donating meals to vulnerable residents.
These are just a few examples of companies in the cannabis industry that are doing good. There are tons of other companies who are finding ways to help out those who need it most.
Cannabis After Coronavirus
The most recent models suggest some states could start reopening their economies as early as May 4, while others might need to wait until late June. But even as states reopen, cannabis after coronavirus will not be going back to business as usual.
The impacts we have seen on the industry are not going anywhere anytime soon. Customers are getting used to the convenience of drive-throughs, delivery, and curbside pickup. Many are going to want to continue purchasing in this way even after they’re allowed to return to the sales floor. Other social distancing standards will likely be in effect long after states start to reopen.
One thing we can be certain of in this time of uncertainty is that things will continue to change. Businesses will no doubt take other measures to prepare themselves for the next industry-shaking event like this. If nothing else, the cannabis industry will become more agile and adaptable to change than it already was.
No one knows when this will be over. No one knows what cannabis after coronavirus will look like when the dust settles. We can only take things one day at a time and adapt to the changes as they come.