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Companies around the world have been stepping up in new ways to assist in the fight against COVID-19, including the cannabis industry where companies up and down the supply chain have been looking to provide relief during these difficult times.
The world has been in much dismay for the past few months because of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Everyone has been forced to uproot their daily lives and accept a “new” normal. As a result, companies across the globe are stepping up in new ways to assist in the fight against COVID-19, including the cannabis industry where companies up and down the supply chain have been looking to provide relief during these difficult times.
The world’s largest cannabis dispensary, Planet 13, recently partnered with the Clark County Social Services to help with donating 2000 meals in the month of April (1). These meals were given to vulnerable senior citizens and disabled residents who are unable to go out due to stay-at-home orders and their high-risk status. Using their on-site restaurant Trece, Planet 13 was able to make 100 meals per day Monday through Friday for local seniors who use the county’s program “Homemaker Home Health Aide,” which assists in providing personal care services.
Another company offering food services is ZoneIn CBD. They have donated more than 51,000 meals to local food banks. Wanting to further boost their efforts, ZoneIn CBD pledged to donate $5 to their local food bank called “Food Lifeline,” for every item sold on their website. In a recent interview (1), former NFL player and co-founder Lofa Tatupu said, “We have helped numerous individuals in terms of their journey with CBD and now together we can help the many by donating meals to those in need.”
Aside from helping those most vulnerable, other cannabis companies are opening themselves to helping our frontline and healthcare workers. Personal protective equipment (PPE) has become one of the most important staples and highly coveted items during the COVID-19 pandemic. California-based company the Glass House Group donated 1000 PPE gowns to the Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California. The gowns are normally used in their greenhouse cultivation facilities for pest control. In addition, their dispensary arm of the business, Farmacy Santa Barbara, created a food bank program to give back to kids so that they can still obtain healthy lunches while they are out of school.
On top of those generous contributions to the COVID-19 fight, Glass House Group has donated $20,000 to their local grower’s association, Cannabis Association for Responsible Producers (CARP). They are starting a local fund called the 93013 Fund, which is the zip code of the Carpinteria area where their farms are located. With this fund, the company is going to donate $20,000 and solicit funds from their community to bring the total amount of donations to $200,000, which will be used for various local causes.
Healthcare workers have become superheroes all over the world because of their resiliency and ability to handle the chaos the pandemic has brought. Recently, Cloudious9 donated a large amount of infrared thermometers to the San Francisco Bay Area Emergency Services. “We were able to use our resources and connections to obtain and donate a large number of FDA approved Infrared Thermometers last week to the San Francisco Fire department after we learned that their department was unable to acquire them from their normal procurement channels," said Dominick Volpini, Cloudious9 Vice President, in a recent article (1). "These infrared thermometers will be used for shift checks to help guard their city firefighters and emergence operations staff against the spread of coronavirus, as well as protect the general public.”
Currently, Cloudious9 is trying to assist other local and state agencies throughout the US in procuring critical medical supplies that hospitals and other frontline workers have been unable to acquire.
Located in Niles, Illinois, PolyScience provides temperature control and support equipment for cannabis extraction and other business areas. They have been deemed an essential business and have battled the pandemic to aid in whatever way they can. According to the company, if chillers in their temperature-controlled baths don’t work, it could prevent a critical test from being performed. Recently PolyScience was featured on CBS News and announced that on top of providing their normal equipment, they also distributed much-needed ventilators to hard hit areas such as Louisiana and Washington (2).
Unfortunately, many items everyone needs to try and stay healthy have become high in demand and short in supply. Various cannabis businesses and alcoholic distilleries have taken it upon themselves to use ingredients from their inventory to make hand sanitizer, which has been difficult for others to come by because most of the materials were being produced in China. One such company is Moxie, which began producing hand sanitizer for hospitals and community members. Customers will be able to obtain sanitizer once they get packaging. So far, Moxie has been able to yield 300 gallons (1). Moxie’s head of marketing, Tessa Adams said, “It’s essential for us, during this difficult time, to come together as a community and help, no matter how large or small.”
Another travesty of this pandemic has been the damage COVID-19 has inflicted on the general workforce. Many people are unemployed or working reduced hours, which makes it difficult to afford living expenses. Bluebird Botanicals already had an assistance program that offered discounts to veterans, civil servants, students, teachers, individuals with long-term disabilities, and low-income families. Since everyone’s lives have been turned upside-down, the company has broadened their program to people who are experiencing financial hardships.
Adapting to the continuously changing conditions that COVID-19 brings, Moon Mother Hemp is providing free shipping and financial assistance to individuals that qualify. The company also created a “Buy One Give One Program” offer to their customers during the month of April. “As a small, woman-owned business, Moon Mother Hemp is doing our best to care for front line workers in a way that will benefit larger communities,” said Tori Rerick, director of PR for Moon Mother Hemp (1). “We understand that these workers are going above and beyond and want to offer support for their immune and nervous systems through CBD wellness.”
In April, the CBD community lost an icon. Charlotte Figi was a young girl who suffered from Dravet Syndrome. She used CBD oil to treat the seizures she was experiencing and inspired a medical cannabis strain to be named after her (3). The company Charlotte’s Web has kept her memory alive through these unpredictable times. During the pandemic, Joel Stanley, co-founder and chairman of the board, as well as Deanie Elsner the company’s CEO announced together that they do not want financial burdens to stand between getting access to their products. To make sure no one is losing access to help aid their medical conditions, Charlotte’s Web is donating $1 million of product to struggling families so that they do not have to suffer due to financial strains (4).
“The news of Charlotte’s passing has been devasting to our organization, and we desperately want to do something to honor the legacy of what Charlotte and Paige Figi have done to create access to CBD for all of us,” said Elsner (4). “We know there’s a lot of families out there who are struggling financially during this difficult time caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. So, if you or somebody you know relies on our products but you’re having difficulty getting access, we want to help by donating products to those families in need. To facilitate this, we’re partnering with the Realm of Caring, the Adaptive Training Foundation, and the High Five Foundation to donate products to families in need.”
With these partnerships, Charlotte’s Web products will be distributed to those in need.
Donating and producing much-needed materials has not been the only way the cannabis industry has found to help. Many cannabis businesses have been struggling to stay afloat in the mayhem and are unable to claim aid from the federal government. A branding and marketing agency called Wick & Mortar, which focuses mainly on cannabis has partnered up with communications company Chapter 2 to form a new agency named High Grade Hope (5). With this agency, the two companies plan to offer services ranging from product packaging designs to content creation that will help cannabis brands looking to relaunch themselves. The goal is to help small businesses bounce back from the global economic crisis evoked by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With much uncertainty in the world, it’s important to remember that there is good out there and that we are all in this together.