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Cannabis and the Coronavirus

Medical and recreational cannabis growers and retailers deemed essential services to help Americans cope with “stay-at-home” orders.

Recreational and medical cannabis deemed essential to cope with 'stay-at-home' orders.
Recreational and medical cannabis deemed essential to cope with "stay-at-home" orders.

According to, in states where officials have issued “stay-at-home” orders, both medical and recreational (adult-use) cannabis operations have remained open, deemed essential services. 

Most states are requiring these businesses to observe social distancing recommendations and limiting number of customers in the facility at any one time. 

Like everything else in the cannabis world, each state has their own take on guidelines.  Colorado, for instance, allows medical customers into the dispensary, while recreational users have to order with curbside delivery.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock had to reverse his initial decision to close both dispensaries and liquor stores.  “Originally slated to close at 5 p.m. March 24 along with dozens of other retail operations deemed non-essential by the city, which are ordered to stay shuttered until April 10, recreational dispensaries and liquor stores in Denver may now remain open "with extreme physical distancing in place,"  Source: Westword.

Denver residents immediately began forming long lines at both types of establishments, and Hancock had to reverse his order.  His actions were creating the exact problem he as trying to avoid—gatherings of larger groups of people!

With both cannabis and CBD often associated with helping anxiety, it no wonder Denver residents ventured forth when their supply was threatened to be cut off.  It’s all about the chain!

As Covid 19 plays havoc with the world economy, MJBiz writers John Schroyer and Bart Schaneman discus cannabis’ possible role as a “recession-proof” industry and point to alcohol as a good indicator.  Consumers use alcohol, cannabis, and even OTC and prescription drugs to relax.  And in some cases, with liquor and pot, to reward themselves after a hard day at work (or a hard day staying at home, either alone or with children and seniors they might be caring for). 

Not as certain is the link between cannabis packaging and the global supply chain.  Many producers, especially those on the West Coast, order packaging materials from Asia and there have been disruptions at shipping terminals, etc.  Growers and retailers using local packaging sources may have some advantage, at least temporarily.  Like severe weather events and other natural disasters, Covid 19 illustrates the necessity of having multiple suppliers in different locations.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 2020 Special Cannabis Report

Packaging World Cannabis Editorial Coverage and PMMI's White Paper "Cannabis Market Update" combined into one special report and updated for 2020. Download for free at the bottom of this article!

The virus has brought even more confusion to the cannabis industry, as discussions continue over the necessity for workers to wear gloves and masks, as well as implementing stepped-up cleaning procedures (how much and how often.)

Packaging World and Healthcare Packaging editors write extensively about cannabis packaging. 

 For the Umpteenth Time, Cannabis Market Hard to Define

 Contract Packaging Potential in the  Industry 

 Or listen to our podcast, ”Don’t Fear The Reefer.”  

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