Cannabis: Resilient Business During COVID

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COVID-19 has affected everyone , and the cannabis industry is no exception. With a projected market size drop of more than $5 million this year, those working in the market must take the initiative to fortify their businesses and ensure resilience for the long haul. 

Increased Automation

With automation comes cleanliness, efficiency, reliability and even cost savings in the long run. Large-scale cannabis harvesting and processing machines for example increases sanitation by reducing unnecessary human contact. Packaging and payment systems for example reduces the likelihood of error without compromising the consumer experience. Using machines strategically can also elevate the workforce to do more technically involved aspects of the business. 

Small Investments Now Can Lead To Big Savings Later

Investing in tools like automation is also useful for helping to cut unnecessary costs during the COVID-19 economy. In California where I am based, the state Code of Regulations, title 16, section 5403 limits the hours of operation for retail sales from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. Automating certain aspects of work that can be performed beyond those operational hours equals a cost savings. Services like inventory management and reporting after hours helps to make the next business day more efficient. Without these manual tasks, it frees up your employees for other more nuanced and interpersonal projects. 

Looking into third-party service providers will also save you money and time in the long run. Hiring a bookkeeper or an accountant, for example, will not only ensure more accuracy in this cash-heavy industry, but most also provide guidance to their clients on how to navigate through financial compliance and tax codes, reducing your chances of loss or penalties. 

Above And Beyond Cleanliness

In the age of COVID-19, businesses must go above and beyond on cleanliness standards to both ensure safety and compliance. For parts of your business that cannot be done remotely, consider an in-house Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to outline policies like sanitation stations, timely cleaning, socially-distanced workspaces, air purifiers, and contact-free customer experiences. Of course some of this will be costly, but as we have learned from these past few months, going above and beyond on these measures will help ensure the health of your business, employees and your customers. Until we move into a lower phase of this pandemic, we as business owners must do everything we can to be responsible. 

An Essential Industry Not To Be Taken For Granted

Even though the vaccine is here, social distancing measures will most likely still need to be in place as the population adjusts. Laws have been changing so rapidly these past few months during the necessary lockdowns that have, unfortunately, caused many businesses to close for good. In California, the cannabis industry has been fortunate to survive because we provide an essential service to our customers. But being “essential” is not to be taken lightly because it also means we have people relying on us. Vulnerable populations like medicinal patients, for example, may have a compromised immune system when they come to us for services. This is why we have to be vigilant in how we run our facilities. Taking extra precautions means we are being responsible for the wellbeing of not just our customers, but also our employees and their families. Let’s all avoid another shutdown and ensure the overall health of our industry for the long run.