Everyone knows what we have to do to stay healthy and stop the spread of COVID-19 at this point. Wash our hands and face, don’t touch our faces, stay home as much as possible. But what about the cannabis industry?
Not satisfied with simply providing cannabis, folks throughout the industry are going above and beyond to keep their staff and customers safe. The cannabis industry’s fight against COVID-19 is providing a good template for other industries.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Pot Shop
Budtenders are on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis. As essential retail employees, they’re the final access point between customers and their cannabis. Uncle Ike’s has worked hard to keep budtenders and the customers they serve safe.
Uncle Ike’s has done the following in response to COVID-19:
- All locations are being electro-sanitized weekly
- Budtenders received a $2 an hour “Hero’s Raise”
- Customers and staff have access to hand sanitizer at all times
- Pre-ordering is strongly encouraged to limit contact
- Six-feet increments are marked on the ground for customers
- Donated masks and hand sanitizers to several local nonprofits
- All locations have or will have sneeze guards installed
- Staff are limiting the number of customers allowed in a store at a time
Additionally, Ike’s has donated excess masks and hand sanitizer to some nonprofits including LEAD and Entre Hermanos.
Cannabis shops can only be as safe as the products they sell, however. The good news is, Washington’s cannabis producers and processors are also stepping up their game.
Using Technology to Stay Safe
Leafwerx, a Washington cannabis producer and processer, has instituted enhanced delivery and hygiene protocol. The technologically-savvy cannabis business has also used technology to solve some of the COVID-19 related issues.
“We have changed our scheduling to enable more distancing within our work facility,” Marcus Naramore, Leafwerx’s director of business development explained. “And we have an in-depth cleaning regimen in place. For the sales team, we have moved to an inside sales model, built out our online educational resources, and have begun zoom training with budtenders.”
Informing customers is just as important as ever. The cannabis industry has had to be adaptable to stay in compliance prior to this crisis. This has made the cannabis industry’s fight against COVID-19 a bit easier.
A Clean Industry Gets Cleaner
Before the threat of COVID-19, cannabis production was a squeaky clean industry. Keeping growing environments clean is essential in cannabis production and processing. That has likely helped producers and processors maintain safe work environments throughout this crisis.
Producers have adapted by expanding already stringent hygiene guidelines. Matthew Friedlander, founder, and CEO of Skagit Organics shared some of the extra precautions his company has adopted.
“We are no longer allowing delivery drivers from transport companies or UPS into the building,” Friedlander detailed. “We are spraying every package that comes in and cleaning all the bins that have been provided by the transport companies with 99% isopropyl.”
In addition to the amended delivery protocol, employees are being extra cautious as well.
“All employees are wearing masks and gloves at all times,” Friedlander explained. “We are all working isolated from one another and keeping the recommended distance at all times.”
All of the employees have isopropyl alcohol, including for use in their vehicles. Additionally, Skagit Organics is educating and encouraging employees about wearing masks and gloves when in public and monitoring their temperatures.
Washington has been fighting COVID-19 longer than any state in the U.S. And Washington has shown what it’s made of in the process. We’ve been able to help other states, and curb the spread because of our citizens and business community identified and fought the threat of a pandemic with the critical diligence it deserved.
The cannabis industry’s fight against COVID-19 has proved that not only is this industry essential, it’s also beneficial.