Cannabis Companies Donate Personal Protection Equipment To Frontline Health Care Workers
From engineering hand sanitizer for hospital workers to donating gloves, gowns, and masks - here's how cannabis companies are lending aid to health workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Cannabis companies across American and Canada are helping healthcare workers by offering supplies amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Entrepreneurs in the marijuana space are realizing they can help fill gaps in the severe supply shortage hospitals are facing as they brace for a surge in COVID-19 patients. Safety items such as masks, protective gowns, gloves, and other personal protection equipment (PPE) used by cannabis growers and budtenders are being donated to health workers and hospitals. In addition, extractors who engineer cannabis concentrates have been making hand sanitizer with ethanol in order to help reduce the hand sanitizer shortage.
Cannabis companies have been deemed an "essential business" in each of these markets, which means they are still operating and even ramping up operations including delivery and production. So for that reason, some cannabis storefronts have been so low on their own PPE supplies, they can't spare any. Understandable, given massive cannabis sales surges as people stock-up.
At the same time, cannabis companies are getting creative in the ways they are giving back. Here are 11 marijuana businesses that are donating aid to healthcare workers, hospitals, senior centers, and medical at-risk patients across the U.S. and Canada.
Glass House Group donates medical gowns to a hospital in California
Glass House Group realized the company uses PPE gowns in its cultivation facilities, for pest control. So its President Graham Farrar decided to send as much as possible, 1,000 protective PPE gowns, to Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. The local hospital's healthcare workers will use disposable protective equipment during the COVID-19 health crisis. The company is also working with its suppliers to find extra masks for frontline healthcare workers.
In addition, Glass House Group's dispensary called the Farmacy Santa Barbara started a Food Bank give back program for kids to still receive a healthy lunch while school is out. It dedicates 5 percent of product sales to the program. Glass House Group has also donated $20,000 to its local growers industry association CARP, which is soliciting a larger total goal of $200,000 to immediately support causes in its local community.
CannaCraft makes 25,000 bottles of hand sanitizer for nursing homes, senior centers in California
CannaCraft based out of Santa Rosa, California, decided to use its ethanol from cannabis extraction to create a hand sanitizer formulation for its local healthcare facilities in need.
"Luckily, we had a lot of the ingredients for hand sanitizer at our facility. We use ethanol for parts of post-processing and we use aloe and essentials oils in our CBD topicals," Tiffany Devitt, President of Wellness at CannaCraft, tells Green Entrepreneur. "We also had several thousand pump bottles on hand that we could no longer use for cannabis products as the regulations had changed. With the combination of the ingredients, our large-scale manufacturing equipment, and our team of in-house chemists, we were ready to start making a lot of hand sanitizer within days of learning about the shortage around the country."
CannaCraft, the company behind the brand Care By Design, hand sanitizer bottles made by its team to help meet demand. (Image credit: CannaCraft)
Among those in-house chemists, Director of New Product Development Matt Elmes helped to formulate the sanitizer. In addition to 25,000 bottles already slated for distribution to senior centers and healthcare workers, Devitt explains the company's goal is to make 100,000 bottles of hand sanitizer with their next order: "We planned on making and distributing 5,000 bottles of hand sanitizer this week, but we received so many requests from local hospitals and non-profits that we quadrupled the amount and we'll now be making 20,000 bottles this week. We have an order in for the materials to make another 100,000 bottles of hand sanitizer."
"We're well-stocked and prepared to scale up (or down) to meet demand," says Devitt. "By its very nature, the cannabis business requires careful management of the supply chain. It requires that we always have a Plan A, B, and C. That hasn't changed."
The Commonwealth Dispensary Association produces hand sanitizer for hospitals in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, The Commonwealth Dispensary Association, which consists of 36 cannabis companies across the state, said its members are producing hand sanitizer that will be donated to local hospitals, MJBizDaily's Nick Thomas reports.
Canopy donates PPE gear to hospitals across Canada
BNN Bloomberg first reported that Canopy Growth has donated health equipment such as face masks, gloves, and bodysuits, to local hospitals in Canada. Canopy Growth spokesperson Jordan Sinclair says to BNN Bloomberg that the company donated "thousands" of gloves, Tyvek suits, as well as masks.
"We committed our personal protective equipment from our recently shuttered B.C. sites to the front-line medical staff at a local health unit in Victoria," Sinclair told David George-Cosh of BNN Bloomberg.
Hexo donates N95 facemasks to paramedics in Outaouais, Quebec
Vertically-integrated cannabis company Hexo says to BNN that the company donated 150 N95 facemasks to paramedic services in the Outaouais region in Quebec to "help fill their critical need."
"Given our role in supplying medical cannabis to patients and in the adult-use cannabis supply chain, our operations in Ontario and Quebec are to be maintained and our business is considered an essential workplace," Sebastien St-Louis, CEO and co-founder of HEXO said in a press release. "We are working to continue to ensure a steady supply of medical cannabis and consumer packaged goods. I am extremely grateful for our dedicated employees."
Aloha Green Holdings donates hand sanitizer to medical patients in Hawaii
The Honolulu, Hawaii-based cannabis dispensary is another company using its tools to create hand sanitizer. Aloha Green Holdings is then donating that sanitizer to its medical patients, many of whom come from higher-risk groups. MJBizDaily reports that the hand sanitizer is free to medical card-carrying patients at Aloha Green Holdings' two dispensaries, but with a limit of one 1.7-ounce bottle per patient for the time being.
Organigram donates hand sanitizer to health care workers in New Brunswick
Organigram announced on Twitter on March 24 that the company is "committed to donating 500 liters of ethanol from our production facility to be repurposed into hand sanitizer for distribution within our local health care network in New Brunswick."
Valens donates PPE supplies to health care workers on the front lines in British Columbia
The Valens Company, a lab, cannabis concentrate maker, and product testing facility based in British Columbia, has donated a sizeable amount of its PPE supplies to medical workers on the front lines in Canada.
"Immediately after this crisis began, we shared all available gloves, gowns and sanitizing wipes," Valens CEO Tyler Robson tells Green Entrepreneur. "We have taken careful inventory of our stock, contributed what we can and have placed another large order which includes masks and other vital PPE, that we hope to receive soon. We plan to donate another significant quantity once we receive the supplementary shipment."
The company has also been given a temporary license from the government to make hand sanitizer bottles to help address the nationwide shortage. Valens says it is now putting a massive hand sanitizer production program into motion.
Lowell Herb Co. donates to Meals on Wheels in California
Lowell Herb Co., based in Los Angeles, California, is dedicating funds to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. "The team felt it was important to get food to our at-risk populations, so we've made donations to Meals on Wheels to keep seniors safe and provide them access to meals," a representative of the company told Green Entrepreneur. To also help the local community of people experiencing homelessness, Lowell has contributed funds to the LA Food Bank.
In addition to supporting its local at-risk communities with food, Lowell is dedicating funds to the Last Prisoner Project's COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, another philanthropic cannabis company nonprofit mentioned above on this list that supports people incarcerated for non-violent cannabis crimes.
WeedMD and Starseed donate face masks, gloves to hospitals in Canada
A massive medical and adult-use cannabis company based in Ontario, Canada, called WeedMD, alongside Starseed, an Ontario-based medical cannabis producer, have already donated more than 23,000 face masks and gloves in varying sizes to hospitals in need. The province is currently asking for additional donations of medical supplies to spare.
Advanced Nutrients donates masks to hospitals, at-risk communities in California
Humanity Heroes, the philanthropic organization founded by international growing and nutrient behemoth Advanced Nutrients, donated 17,000 N95 face masks to homeless shelters in Los Angeles, 2,500 of which went to the Hollywood Food Coalition. In addition, the Humanity Heroes team donated 700 N95 masks to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center for the doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals on the front line. Michael "BigMike" Straumietis, the founder of Advanced Nutrients, told Green Entrepreneur in the past: "We human beings are capable of so much more than we typically think is possible."