Medical marijuana deemed ‘essential,’ MJ shops see brisk sales amid coronavirus crisis but deal with related business challenges & more


States and local municipalities are increasingly declaring that medical marijuana businesses are “essential” operations and can keep their doors open during the coronavirus health crisis.

MJBizDaily takeaway: Industry watchers note that as government officials in more areas of the country place MMJ dispensaries in the same category as other essential businesses like pharmacies, this marks a tacit recognition of their medical importance.

Marijuana retailers pivot operations during coronavirus scare

Cannabis stores and delivery services have had to quickly modify their approach to daily operations during the coronavirus crisis, including implementing the following strategies: 

  • Reassigning employees to new tasks to deal with a flood of online orders, curbside pickup and deliveries.
  • Implementing unprecedented measures to ensure store employees, delivery drivers and customers stay healthy. These range from taking employees’ temperatures to providing them with latex gloves and alcohol-based disinfectants.
  • Limiting how many customers can enter a store at one time in states where curbside pickup or delivery is not allowed.
  • Extending sick pay provisions to employees.

MJBizDaily takeaway: Many recreational marijuana retailers reported brisk sales this week.

But adult-use cannabis shop owners also are struggling with the decision about whether they should close voluntarily to help avoid the spread of coronavirus – despite the loss in sales they’ll experience. 

Additionally, the growing number of stay-at-home mandates issued by some states could leave marijuana businesses scrambling to figure how, or if, they can continue serving customers if they remain open.

Is international medical cannabis supply chain stable?

International medical marijuana supply chains appeared to be in good shape this week despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Shipments to Europe’s largest market, Germany, remained uninterrupted.

MJBizDaily takeaway: Industry experts believe disruption of medical cannabis shipments to Germany aren’t likely in the short term, even as more European countries going into full lockdown mode or close borders because of the pandemic.

Pandemic continues to impact cannabis trade events

Marijuana Business Daily has postponed or canceled three upcoming cannabis industry trade events scheduled for the United States and overseas because of the coronavirus pandemic:

  • MJBizDaily’s Investor Intelligence Symposium, which was set for April, was canceled. MJBizDaily will offer a series of webinars starting April 7 to deliver the conference content free to all marijuana industry executives.
  • Dates for the co-located MJBizConNEXT and Hemp Industry Daily Conference in New Orleans were moved from early June to August 19-20.
  • MJBizDaily’s European Cannabis Symposium, scheduled for early May in Copenhagen, Denmark, was postponed and the company is exploring new dates that it plans to announce in the coming weeks.

Marijuana Business Daily does not anticipate a date change for MJBizCon, which is scheduled for Dec. 2-4 in Las Vegas.

MJBizDaily takeaway: Organizers of a growing number of conferences with ties to the cannabis industry continue to postpone, cancel or reschedule events amid the coronavirus pandemic. Click here for a list of impacted events.

Green Growth Brands CEO departs

Ohio-based Green Growth Brands said its CEO Peter Horvath has stepped down.

Horvath joined Green Growth after leading strategy for companies such as Victoria’s Secret, American Eagle Outfitters, DSW and Limited Brands.

MJBizDaily takeaway: Horvath’s departure marks another high-profile executive departure from the North American cannabis industry.

Even Horvath’s experience at mainstream retail giants was not enough as the embattled Green Growth suffered lackluster sales during the last holiday sales period at the nation’s largest chain of CBD retail kiosks. It revealed in February it was selling most of that business to focus on running marijuana dispensaries.

The company also said this week it was temporarily shuttering all its CBD kiosks because of the coronavirus pandemic while also suspending CBD e-commerce sales for its Seventh Sense line of CBD topical products.

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.

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