How Covid-19 Has Affected the Cannabis Industry
The impact of the global pandemic that we are in caused by the outbreak of Covid-19 has been remarkable. Many people have become terminally ill and lost their lives. A lot of businesses have been forced to adjust and change how they operate. Some businesses have had lay off many workers. Some businesses have had to shut down completely. Some businesses have even flourished even more than they ever have due to the pandemic. Today, I am going to put a magnifying glass specifically on the Cannabis Industry to show how it has been impacted. There are 3 major points I want to touch on: How the Cannabis Industry has been deemed an essential business during the pandemic, how shopping for cannabis has become more convenient for consumers, and how the Cannabis Industry has been deemed an essential business, but hundreds of thousands of people are still arrested for it on a yearly-basis.
Becoming Essential and Convenient
One of the most important domino-effects of Covid-19 on the Cannabis Industry is that in many of states where it is legal for medicinal or recreational purposes, Cannabis Companies became classified as essential businesses (MG Retailer). Once the pandemic became as destructive as it did, many businesses were deemed to be non-essential, and therefore were not able to operate as they normally were. Many questioned whether or not the Cannabis Industry would be classified as essential or non-essential, especially those who were using it for medicinal purposes. It was huge for the decision to deem it essential. With that decision came another question: How will customers receive the product? It quickly became evident that Covid-19 is very dangerous and safety would be important for customers in any industry. Being able to do curbside pickup, as well as delivery came into play for business owners in the Cannabis Industry to allow customers to feel safe while getting what they need. Even though things have slowed down, these options will most likely stay readily available for customers because of its convenience, and because it’s not really necessary to come into the store. There would have to be an extreme circumstance to make it mandatory for customers to come into the physical store to purchase cannabis products.
Essential and Illegal?
Another effect of Covid-19, which I believe to be the most controversial, is the fact that many Cannabis related-businesses have been deemed essential, yet there are many people incarcerated for the product that drives the Cannabis Industry. The statistics are insane when you take a look into the numbers. According to the Pew Research Center, 4 out of every 10 drug-related arrests were for marijuana offenses, and most of them were for possession (Around 92% was for possession, the other 8% was for selling or manufacturing the product). They also stated that there were around 663,000 arrests made for offenses related to marijuana out of 1.65 million total drug arrests (40%). Though these numbers are from 2018, it is still believed that these numbers are around the same or increasing, and that marijuana is still the number one drug people get arrested for in the United States. With that said, many people, including lawmakers and lobbyist, have become more outspoken because it doesn’t make sense that an essential business flourishes from a product that you can also get arrested for. I believe many want to see change within the laws regarding marijuana use, marijuana possession, and just marijuana in general. The police could be focusing their efforts in other places, such as social injustice, education reform, and rebuilding some broken communities. As it relates to the Cannabis Industry, I believe the pandemic will help force lawmakers to address these laws around marijuana.
I hope you were able to see how Covid-19 has affected the Cannabis Industry in different ways. Whether being deemed an essential business, becoming more convenient for consumers to purchase and receive, or seeing how the laws on marijuana shouldn’t be as strict, these are all important in their own way. The most important to me would be the latter, as many have years taken away from them for simple possessions of marijuana. I hope one day the laws will change, and I hope you found this as a good read. Enjoy!