The COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging many parts of the globe and it seems that each time we wake up we are met with distressing news of new cases and increasing death tolls. The USA now has the highest number of cases, with Italy and Spain also struggling to combat the virus effectively. Although South Africa has hopefully put the correct measures in place at the right time, there is still a lot to unfold.
Issues such as panic buying and ignorance to social distancing are still low points, but we are feeling a sense of community, support for health care workers and seeing many genuine efforts to contribute to the cause which are shining through the negativity.
The Industry Lends a Helping Hand
The cannabis industry is a place of positivity at the moment where businesses, individuals and the community as a whole are making their contributions and doing what they can during these tough times. One of the largest cannabis companies in the world, Aurora, have donated much needed N95 respirator masks to local health services. Organigram Holdings, another licensed producer of cannabis, donated ethanol which is used in the production of hand sanitiser – along with various alcohol manufacturers. Canadian cannabis companies HEXO Corp and Canopy Growth Corp have also taken the initiative and donated their protective equipment to surrounding emergency services as they battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cannabis Deemed as Essential
Cannabis has also been deemed an essential service during this time in America and Canada. Various retailers are contributing by remaining open in order to support customers and patients, even if it is with half their usual resources and staff. Retailers are operating on adjusted hours so they may assist those struggling with conditions of a chronic or terminal nature.
Disconnect from the Government
Although the international cannabis industry is enthusiastic and doing what they can to help, they are being met with closed doors as they seek assistance from their governments. Many requests have fallen to the wayside and various companies find themselves being turned away by governments and acting officials solely because of the industry they operate in even though it is a legal and regulated industry.
Many of these brands and companies have voiced their concerns and frustrations, aimed at government banks who exist to assist small and medium sized businesses with financing. However, many of these banks have stated that they will not be able to provide any relief for cannabis companies struggling at this time.
This has forced many employers to resort to temporary layoffs and closures as cash flow dries up – ab issue that every industry in the globe is facing at the moment.
Even though some government entities will not be financially supporting cannabis companies at this time, they are willing to include the cannabis industry if it is to their benefit. Some governments have asked cannabis companies to offer their labs to assist with testing for COVID-19, while simultaneously not offering them assistance. It seems that those in power may want to have it both ways.
In order to manage and beat the COVID-19 pandemic, industries across the globe in every country are going to have to play their part and make a contribution. This is the time for the world to step up and make a positive effort for the future.