All weekend and all day Monday, the team at Mana Supply Co.’s Edgewater, Md., location was moving patients and their vehicles through the new drive-thru lanes—keeping the traffic flow even and safe off State Rt. 2 and keeping new social distancing measures in mind every step of the way. The drive-thru opened on Friday, just in the nick of time.
Co-owner Christopher Jensen says business has increased about 30% in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak and the vigorous spike in demand for cannabis products. The sudden move into crisis mode across the globe has put businesses like Mana Supply Co. on the lookout for new efficiencies, new ways of engaging their patient base and ensuring everyone has access to products they need.
Last week, the state of Maryland issued its “social distancing” measures, which greenlit curbside pickups for medical cannabis dispensaries. It was an immediate help, but Jensen and Volz still had reservations about sending employees to cars for cash exchanges. The drive-thru cuts down on some of that up-close interaction. And it is part of a plan that’s been in the works at Many Supply Co. for a lot longer than just the past few days and weeks. Jensen credits the state’s diligent response to the many nuanced business concerns for getting the drive-thru lanes open in a time of great uncertainty.
“This has been changing almost on an hour-by-hour basis,” Jensen says. Monday morning, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued an order on further business closings. The Mana Supply Co. team worked with the state’s Office of Legal Counsel to ensure that medical cannabis businesses would remain “essential” and able to keep the doors open during this crisis—and they are.
Co-owner Matt Volz was in the parking lot this morning, directing traffic and helping answer patients’ questions. The company’s drive-thru service is working on a pre-order basis now, mimicking the CVS prescription pick-up window next door.
When patients pull into the Mana Supply Co. parking lot, they stop at a check-in point, much like reception desks in the in-store environment. “It takes, from start to finish, all of about 90 seconds,” Volz says.
The drive-thru plan came together five years ago, when the team scouted a former bank location in Edgewater. The two ATM lanes had serious potential for drive-thru services in the future, something that would require assistance from the state as its medical cannabis program evolved.
As the coronavirus crisis rapidly expanded, the Mana Supply Co. team worked closely with county and state regulators to get the necessary safety and check-in compliance measures in place to open a drive-thru service. One lane is open now, with high-speed garage doors opening and closing to provide patients an added layer of privacy and security while completing their transaction.
“I’m really proud of the state of Maryland,” Jensen says. “Gov. Hogan has been very forward-thinking. Our county executive in the county where we’ve got that drive-thru, Steuart Pittman, has been fantastic. The executive director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, Will Tilburg, is exceptionally forward-thinking.”