‘Essential’ designation could yield benefits for the cannabis trade
“So it has been difficult to meet the retail store opening times because of this process,” he said.
“We struggled to get drywall, hammers and nails, but luckily we didn’t have a big disruption getting flowers,” he said.
In the thick of it, cannabis companies have also faced delays in shipments of packaging, PPE and cleaning supplies, Schneider said. The association hired seamstresses to sew masks and helped members create alternative recipes for cleaning products.
Cloud, who now has four stores, is also struggling to hire – an issue that affects the restaurant industry and others as well, McLeod said. “I would say that like all other industries, we definitely have to work harder to recruit new jobs,” Schneider added.
The pandemic may have helped spur the growing acceptance of legal cannabis.
State governments across the country have designated cannabis “essential” as the lockdown has become “one of the most important moments in the timeline of the country’s legal marijuana industry,” the national publication of the industry Daily Marijuana Business reports, because it “puts the cannabis industry in the same category as pharmacies, hospitals and other sources of legitimate drugs.”
It showed that these products – still seen as problematic by some – aren’t just for fun, they’re necessary, McLeod said.
Many retailers, facing a shortage of product packaging they were getting from overseas, turned to suppliers in Ohio and Michigan during the lockdown, Schneider said. She expects this pivot to last for many, since these shorter-distance relationships have already been formed.
Contactless deliveries and curbside pickup are also likely permanent for some.
Going forward, a big question for McLeod is how Michigan will resolve the problems resulting from the different regulation of medical and adult marijuana businesses.
Medical companies find it difficult to compete if their city does not allow recreation but the neighbor does, for example.
Schneider is also eagerly awaiting the types of licenses that were suspended during the pandemic: social consumption fairs, for example, and cannabis-based tourism.
“We expect to see more of these openings over the next year, starting this summer,” she said.