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Coronavirus Causing Cannabis Industry Slow Downs

Jar Spilling Out Cannabis Buds on Wooden Surface

The heightened security measures and health risks associated with the global pandemic known as COVID-19 are taking their toll on everyone.

From an economic standpoint, the unprecedented closures of everything from Broadway to local concerts has left virtually every industry scrambling to figure out how they should proceed. In California, the state’s legalized cannabis market has been no exception. Even prior to widespread critical action across the U.S. to initiate spread containment, the spread of COVID-19 in China had already led some to observe that many vital packaging components for cannabis products would likely suffer extreme delays in production.

According to Marijuana Business Daily, over 90% of all components used in a cannabis vaporizer are manufactured in Shenzhen, China. That’s just one example. When one considers the volume of plastics – as well as equipment utilized in extraction and cultivation – the problem compounds even further. While some factories in China are reportedly beginning to resume production, they are only operating at partial capacity as employees are skittish about returning to work or, in some cases, still under quarantines.

Another way in which COVID-19 has hit the cannabis industry hard is on the event cancellation front. Certainly, the market is not alone in choosing to cancel all large gatherings scheduled to take place in the next two weeks and beyond. One of the first high-profile weed-related events to announce a postponement was the industry trade show Hall of Flowers. Originally scheduled to take place from April 1-2 in Palm Springs, the event’s organizers say it is now indefinitely postponed.

Major cannabis events and conferences are being either cancelled or postponed.

Other cannabis-related event postponements include High Times’ Central Valley Cannabis Cup in Sacramento (originally scheduled for April 18-19) and the CCIA Annual Policy Conference (originally set for March 18). Internationally, Spain’s Spannabis conference was postponed less than 48 before the event was set to kickoff. With so much uncertainty surrounding how long many facets of day-to-day life are likely to be suspended, there’s also likely to be many in the industry nervously looking ahead to the high holy day of cannabis: April 20.

If High Times has already gone ahead and postponed a cup slated to occur the two days ahead of 4/20, it seems like only a matter of time before numerous other scheduled festivities focused on the occasion are also forced to reevaluate their plans. Fiscally speaking, the marketing opportunity provided by media attention devoted to April 20 is on par with what most businesses rely on from December holiday sales. Adding salt to the wound, 2020 is also “the month of 4/20” when written out as such. Silly, perhaps, but it does represent a marketing angle that is now likely untenable.

Given what we know about COVID-19 so far, it comes as no surprise that there are currently lots of reminders circulating online reminding individuals to engage in hygienic cannabis consumption. That includes washing your hands before touching cannabis, not sharing joints, and wiping down glassware before anyone new puts their hands and lips on it.

There’s also, of course, a lot of people who really need to smoke some weed right now. It’s far too soon to gauge any difference in sales on the legal level, but according to The Cut, delivery cyclists in New York City are staying quite busy catering to bored and anxious residents. One courier reportedly earned $10,000 in a single day. For Californians, legal dispensaries and delivery services remain open, although anything is always subject to change with a moment’s notice.

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