When the Nazis were conducting nightly bombing raids on London and the surrounding territories during the second world war, the citizens would wake up everyday and go about their daily business as if their entire world weren’t in shambles. It made daily life into a form of resistance. This whole coronavirus business isn’t as much of an existential threat as the Battle of Britain was for the UK, at least not yet, but that doesn’t mean that the sentiment is any less present. Even when the virus ramps up and we catch up to the statistics experienced in China, Italy and increasingly, the United States, we’ll need to stay the course because our gardens still need tending, the dishes must be done, and nobody’s going to do it for us.
Cannabis companies are considered essential services in most states, and they understand this better than most. Here are three still doing the job.
Tuesday evening, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak instructed all non-essential business in Nevada to close their doors for the next 30 days by Wednesday noon Pacific Time to help the government’s public health efforts to contain COVID-19 and protect the people of Nevada. Cannabis, because it falls under the medical rubric, is considered an essential service, and therefore, Nevada is still allowing all licensed cannabis establishments to stay open, but with the addendum that this could change at any minute. This includes both cultivation and production facilities, distributors, independent testing facilities, retail stores and medical dispensaries.
1933 Industries (TGIF.C) has decided to stay the course and continue their regular operations with their cultivation and manufacturing facilities in Nevada remaining open to meet the increased demand. Their second harvest is still on schedule for the end of March, and they’ll continue to the situation with COVID-19 to see how it develops.
The Alternative Medicine Association (AMA), their cultivation arm, already follows high quality protocols related to cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene.
Other safety measures include:
- Implementing enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures;
- Reinforcing standard hygiene practices for employees and disallowing any visitors from the facilities;
- Monitoring employee health, working in small groups and following all health authority recommendations.
Flower One Holdings
Flower One Holdings (FONE.C) is also in Nevada, so Governor Sisolak’s decree applies to them as well. They have also decided to stay the course.
“For these patients and consumers, maintaining the certainty and integrity of the cannabis supply chain is paramount. As the largest cannabis cultivator and producer in Nevada, Flower One takes very seriously the role the company can play in protecting this supply chain, and we are working collaboratively with fellow Nevada cannabis stakeholders to ensure a wide range of safe, quality products remains available to all in need,” said Ken Villazor, Flower One’s president and CEO.
The company is continuing to operate its 455,000 square foot cultivation and production facility and doing it in a manner compliant with the social distancing and public health guidelines issued by Nevada health. The company also states that they’ve seen a notable increase in demand of both its wholesale and finished packaged products—which if you think about it, makes sense—if you’re being forced to stay home and keep away from people, why not get high?
- Hygiene protocols at all sites have been further enhanced beyond the company’s already stringent, compliant food safety standards, and are consistent with the public health guidelines outlined by the State of Nevada. Additional cleaning staff have been hired and deployed to all of the company’s locations.
- Employees who can work remotely are being asked to do so. Remote work platforms are being deployed to further encourage working from home. All other employees — specifically those who manage live plants — are being selectively and carefully distributed across the company’s multiple North Las Vegas facilities.
- The company has eliminated any overlay or contact between employees working on shift schedules and has undertaken an additional precautionary disinfection process before the next set of employees can enter the greenhouse to begin their shift.
- In the absence of official testing, all employees are being screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entry onto each site. Any employees who have been sick recently, are expressing symptoms of cold or flu, have been exposed to someone who is ill, have a chronic illness as per CDC guidelines, or live in a high-risk household with elderly or chronically ill persons or travelled to restricted regions of the world, have been asked to remain home for the time being and to seek medical attention when appropriate.
Cresco Labs (CL.C) response to COVID-19 is business as usual, and yes, they’ve decided to stay the course as well. They’re going to continue to operate all of their dispensaries during regularly scheduled hours as permitted, to make sure that their tens of thousands of patients and consumers that rely on getting their cannabis for their quality of life continue to have access.
The changes they’ve made are to their sanitation measures and retail-level procedures to ensure adequate social distancing between employees and consumers.
- Social distancing procedures include:
- Driving traffic to alternative channels
- Online ordering
- Text message staging notifications
- Home delivery (where applicable)
- Curbside pickup (launching next week in Illinois
The company’s cultivation and production operations will continue, but with more attention paid to sanitation, quality and safety programs, which the company states were already designed to mirror the highest standards used by the food and beverage manufacturers across the country. They’re complying with the guidance by the CDC with support form a consultant from a public health and epidemiology consultant, and taking necessary steps to ensure the healthiest environment at its facilities nationwide.
“Many government agencies have deemed cannabis products “essential” in the communities that Cresco Labs operates in and as medical providers, we take our obligations during the current period of global uncertainty very seriously. Many of our dispensaries are classified in the same category as pharmacies that people depend on as trusted access points for prescription medicine and continuing to provide that access is a fundamental responsibility,” said Charlie Bachtell, Cresco Labs CEO and co-founder.
It’s not going to be an easy time or an easy transition, and there’s strong reason to believe that we’re going to suffer irreparable change to our way of life because of this damn virus, but there’s no reason to believe that if we just stay the course and keep moving forward instead of backward, that we can’t find our way out of this maze.
Full Disclosure: 1933 Industries is an equity.guru marketing client.