5 Inspiring Ways Cannabis Companies Are Helping During The COVID-19 Pandemic
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Prominent cannabis entrepreneurs are doing what they can to help patients and consumers across the country as the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic grips the world.
"Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” - Fred Rogers
Helpers are everywhere. By staying open and offering delivery and curbside pick-up, practicing hyper-sanitation and social distancing, and putting themselves on the front lines, cannabis companies are showing compassion for those in need. The value of cannabis to the community is being recognized by local governments. New York and San Francisco officially deemed cannabis an "essential good." In fact, San Francisco's Department of Public Health announced on March 17: "Cannabis is an essential medicine for many San Francisco residents. Dispensaries can continue to operate as essential businesses during this time, while practicing social distancing and other public health recommendations."
Here are five examples of how cannabis industry entrepreneurs are rising above, giving back, and creating safe spaces for the most vulnerable medical patients to access this essential good.
1. "Decarcerate Now" petition from The Last Prisoner Project
The Last Prisoner Project is dedicated to freeing incarcerated individuals for non-violent cannabis crimes. Today, the non-profit, with founder Steve DeAngelo at the helm of the movement, has started a petition called "Decarcerate Now." Its goal is to release those incarcerated because of the critical health emergency prison and jails face with COVID-19. "Incarceration is a public health emergency. If we legalized marijuana nationally — effective this week — and provided a pathway home for people being held on cannabis-related charges, we could reduce the prison population by 40,000 nationally," the organization said on Instagram. You can sign the petition now, which urges the President and the Federal Bureau of Prisons to release prisoners for their safety. In addition to movements that aim to free prisoners like Reform Alliance's petition, Decarcerate Now is specifically aimed at, "reducing prison populations through measures like releasing cannabis prisoners," to help "flatten the curve" and mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
2. Foodbank for kids and paid sick leave from Glass House Group
One California cannabis company is taking big steps to help its local community. Glass House Group's Farmacy in Santa Barbara is starting a Food Bank give back program, according to a company representative. "One of the things that a lot of people don't recognize is that for many kids in our society school isn’t just where they go to learn, it is also where they get fed. No school can mean no food. We are supporting the Food Bank to help with that." In addition, the company has promised that any employee that tests positive for COVID-19 will receive two weeks of paid sick leave while they recover. Glass House President Graham Farrar is also the president of a farming cultivator industry group of Carpinteria growers, which is starting the 93013 Fund. The company will donate $20,000 and solicit funds from the community to offer a total of $200k to support local health and humanitarian causes.
3. A safe senior shopping hour at Bud & Bloom
From 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. every day starting Thursday, March 19, Orange County's Bud & Bloom will offer entry for seniors only. This is to curb the number of people the most vulnerable age demographic may come in contact with, reducing their exposure to other people as much as possible. The senior community is near to Bud & Bloom's heart. Before the pandemic began, the company had a Senior Bus program. It is currently on hiatus but the company hopes to resume its busing program for the senior community come May.
4. Pick-up discounts, a dedicated senior hour at Lady Jane's Naturals
Because the first hour of the day is the safest time for the senior community to visit the dispensary, Lady Jane's Naturals is reserving the 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. slot for seniors. And the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based cannabis dispensary is going one step further—offering a 15 percent discount to cannabis patients and consumers who order ahead online for pick-up through Leafly, via phone, or email. "Our hearts go out to all impacted by COVID-19," the company said on Instagram. "Together, we can weather this storm!"
5. Free delivery, streaming cannabis education from The+Source
The+Source, a cannabis company with two dispensaries in Las Vegas, Nevada, plans to remain open for both medical and recreational cannabis consumers from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. The dispensary is also uniquely offering free delivery for orders of $65 or more for customers within 10 miles of either location. "Customers will no longer be able to take part in smelling flower before purchasing, as the flower displays are no longer available to prevent the spread of germs," the company said, taking every health precaution possible. The+Source also decided to digitize its monthly cannabis class called Higher Education to stream online for the time being, making it available to the entire world.