As we make our way into a new chapter in “End of Days: Death By Stupidity Edition,” it's worth taking a moment to consider how COVID-19 may impact the cannabis industry, and if cannabis can be part of a toolkit to deal with the pandemic.
On Sunday, Governor Kate Brown declared a Coronavirus State of Emergency, which simply means additional funds and personnel are requested and implemented. Nothing is being put forth which would impact an individual from going to a dispensary, or using a delivery service. So for now, all is well, relatively speaking.
However, that could change. Doesn’t mean it will, but that it could, so stay calm and carry on consuming cannabis. Former pandemics such as the Swine Flu, SARS, and others didn’t have a measurable impact on the industry, so like any forecasting, this is purely speculative.
Starting from a global perspective, the virus has had an impact on the production of goods in every conceivable sector, including those needed for cannabis production, consumption, and sale. Per Marijuana Business Daily:
The coronavirus has had a significant impact on the entire manufacturing supply chain in China, which will be felt in the coming months,” said Richard Huang, CEO of Cloudious9, a cannabis vaporizer manufacturer based in Hayward, California. Huang pointed out that the cannabis vape industry is at its core a hardware business, and nearly all vaporizers, vape cartridges and batteries are manufactured in China.
Arnaud Dumas de Rauly – founder and CEO of New York-based The Blinc Group, a cannabis vape hardware manufacturer – said “discontinuity” is the biggest risk to its supply chain. “If several key raw material suppliers suddenly close down or are several months late in their shipments, it will constitute a threat to our timely fulfillment capabilities,” Dumas de Rauly said. On top of the impact to vape manufacturers, he expects this work stoppage to affect all sectors of the cannabis industry, including cultivators using LED lighting, greenhouse structures and packaging and extraction equipment providers.
“It could be a very difficult year for hardware companies trying to maintain a steady supply of inventory,” Huang added.
The supply shortage can be offset to some extent by US manufacturing companies producing the needed lights, HVAC, etc. But events where deals are made for big sales of such things are being impacted by the virus.
Cancellations include SXSW, which had a sizable cannabis business track scheduled, and Anaheim-based 2020 Natural Products Expo West, which had numerous CBD brands registered as vendors. Canna Tech in Tel Aviv is postponing, the Berlin edition of the International Cannabis Business Conference has too, along with the American Herbal Products Association’s Hemp-CBD Congress, which was scheduled here in Portland next month.
If the virus spreads, containment measures being implemented in Washington State—school closures, strongly urged telecommuting—could result in producers and processors needing to temporarily reduce staff or stop work. But any shortages from doing so would be negated by the seeming oversupply of the many cannabis product categories Oregon is still contending with, so that’s not a major aspect to stress out over.
Something to stress out over? Being stressed out over the virus. Stress impacts the immune system, which lowers your body’s ability to fight off illnesses. So, along with washing your hands properly, reducing stress is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy. And as decades of use has shown, cannabis can help users reduce stress. It allows those partaking to shift their concerns and perspectives, not so much to zone out, but to place attention on other interests, pursuits, and engagements.
(For those inclined to dive down the rabbit hole of just how cannabis can affect one’s immune system, and it’s a complicated matter that along with most any cannabis issue needs a great deal more study, start with this piece.)
Some common sense applies—perhaps forgo sharing joints, bongs, and pipes with others, or at least sterilize pipes and bongs with alcohol wipes between users. Smoking anything, including cannabis, irritates respiratory systems, so vaping your flower instead may be a healthier choice. Don’t forget edibles and tinctures as a consumption method as well.
The advice to gather a 30 day supply of necessities such as toilet paper, food, and prescription meds should include cannabis products. Quarantines, self imposed or not, go much smoother with your favorite cannabis options. If this looks like it might drag on, consider taking up starting a small personal grow as well.