On March 24, officials in Massachusetts exempted medical cannabis operations from the statewide non-essential business COVID-19 shutdown. As the adult-use market shuttered for two months, the number of certified active patients, as well as ounces sold through the medical program, increased dramatically.
The coronavirus pandemic has robbed us of events and celebrations we look forward to each year, as well as the significant milestones many only experience once, such as weddings and graduations. 2020 has been trying for a lot of us both personally and professionally, yet we all know family, colleagues and friends who have not only overcome the challenges, but innovated.
We’ve seen this in the cannabis industry, as cultivation facilities continue to expand and new dispensaries continue to open, in addition to ”smaller” successes, such as leaders motivating their teams, staff serving patients and customers with compassion, and both being positive forces in their communities during these challenging times. It can be easy to forget to recognize these accomplishments when trying to meet daily needs of the demanding cannabis industry and solve problems on the fly.
Now is the perfect time to reflect on and recognize that work, to celebrate the incredible companies you have built.
In 2020, Cannabis Business Times and sister publication Cannabis Dispensary launched the “Best Cannabis Companies to Work For” ranking to recognize both cultivation companies and retailers (medical or adult use) that have created supportive, engaging, safe and generous places to work. The list, which again will be compiled in partnership with the research company Best Companies Group, acknowledges cannabis businesses with exceptional benefits and working environments.
And, because the program surveys employees (anonymously), the ranking truly showcases those companies that employees say are great places to work.
According to research results from the 2020 program, cannabis companies that participated received, on average, high marks on questions about supervisor/employee relationships and those about workplace safety. However, averages were not as high when assessing pay and benefits, suggesting this is an area the industry could improve.
Results from this incredibly unusual year will likely prove to be interesting. Entering is free, and to qualify, companies must have 15 or more full-time or part-time employees and operate a licensed cannabis cultivation and/or dispensary business in the U.S. or Canada. Learn more at BestCompaniesCannabis.com and be sure to register by the Oct. 9 deadline.
You can also learn more about what makes the No. 1-ranking companies great in a panel discussion during Cannabis Conference, which will now take place virtually this fall, with more details to be announced soon. Darren Brisebois of OGEN by Bloom Cultivation, as well as Gina Dubbé and Dr. Leslie Apgar of Greenhouse Wellness dispensary, will discuss how they approach company culture, hiring and more.
These leaders will join the incredible lineup of more than 70 speakers who will share their time and expertise with us at Cannabis Conference. You can learn more about the sessions and how the user-friendly platform will work at CannabisConference.com.
Just because we are robbed of in-person events doesn’t mean we can’t still get together to learn, network and grow. And I look forward to chatting with you during the live, interactive virtual Cannabis Conference in September!
As the COVID-19 pandemic began necessitating shutdowns and stay-at-home orders in the U.S. in March, some (including this author) postulated that cannabis consumers and patients may turn away from flower and inhalable products such as vapes in favor of edibles. Early findings show the novel coronavirus attacks the respiratory system, and health officials have warned that smoking or vaping of any kind can exacerbate infection.
However, data from Arizona and Oregon reveals that this has not been the case among the general consumers who make up the overwhelming proportion of sales in Oregon nor the registered patients of Arizona’s medical system, one of the largest and longest-standing in the country. In fact, as sales have boomed overall in both states under the specter of COVID-19, the proportions made up by flower have increased slightly or held steady.
In Oregon, it appears the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a boost to the already strong growth taking place. May’s sales total of more than $103 million is up 51% from January’s over $68.1 million in sales. (January 2020 sales were higher than May 2019’s totals for both Oregon and Arizona.) The increase in monthly revenue from flower sales from January to May was 58%, outpacing a 37% rise in revenue from sales of concentrates and extracts, along with a 43% expansion in sales of edibles and tinctures in that span.
Meanwhile, the proportion of sales revenue from flower has also grown during the months since COVID-19 gripped the country in March.
In Arizona, officials report sales for flower, edibles, and “other” (concentrates, vapes, and other products) by weight. Similar to Oregon, sales in Arizona’s medical market have reached unprecedented levels during the COVID crisis. May saw 18,083 pounds of all product types sold, a record high and up 18% from 15,302 pounds in January of this year. May’s flower sales volume represented an increase of 17% from January, in line with the total expansion in sales. However, May’s edibles sales were up only 4% in the same span, while sales of “other” products—which are primarily inhalable—had risen by 42%.
The Arizona data table shows that patients continued to purchase a similar variety of products even during the turbulence created by the coronavirus. Still, the market share commanded by edibles has contracted slightly when not rounding to the nearest percentage point; in April it stood at 2.7%, and in May it decreased to 2.5%.
Trends out of these two well-developed markets indicate that, despite warnings of smoking and vaping increasing the risk of infection and complications from COVID-19, the pandemic has not put a dent in the purchasing of smokable or inhalable products by either general consumers or registered patients. In fact, depending on the market one is operating in, demand for flower or vape products may have grown significantly relative to before the coronavirus. While it stands to reason that the current situation would potentially prompt an outsized increase in edibles sales, producers and retailers should always look to hard data to make well-informed decisions for their businesses.
The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), the governing body overseeing Massachusetts’ cannabis program, issued hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines to three cannabis companies for various violations.
Cannabis sales in Illinois’s adult-use market again hit a record for total sales in June, the second consecutive record month since sales began in January.
Cannabis Business Times’ interactive legislative map is another tool to help cultivators quickly navigate state cannabis laws and find news relevant to their markets. View More