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How the coronavirus epidemic will hit the hemp industry

From event cancellations to supply chain disruptions, here's everything you need to know about the coronavirus and the hemp industry

We do not know what the total economic impact of the coronavirus will be, but one thing is certain: As the world finds itself plunged into the greatest public health crisis of our life, the Covid-19 pandemic is naturally at the heart of the concerns of all. As difficult as it may be to think about the cannabis industry and the reform movement at a time like this, the reality is that the impact of the coronavirus on our economy and society also affects cannabis, with effects likely to get worse over the next few weeks. Through the American experience how will the coronavirus strike the hemp industry?

With that in mind, here are some of the effects of the coronavirus crisis on the cannabis industry, and things consumers and businesses need to keep in mind when we go through this health crisis together. Some changes brought about by the new virus could support the emerging hemp industry, but it could also create additional challenges and obstacles for the emerging hemp industry.

Here's everything you need to know about how COVID-19 could or already has an impact on the hemp industry.

Implications for research

De many Conferences, festivals and planned cannabis events are postponed or canceled in the United States, Canada and Europe.

The national meeting on hemp research and education sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) was scheduled to take place from March 17 to 18, but was postponed, all as the conference proceedings that could have helped hemp producers and was to include group discussions and presentations on hemp genetics, best management practices and supply chains. The results of a national survey on hemp were to be unveiled. The conference was also to establish working groups that would have identified hemp research and education priorities for the next three to five years. Unfortunately, the cancellation of this conference will have detrimental effects on the emerging industry. Many people who are entering their first year of production will not have access to this education.

List of canceled events

Research meetings are just two of the many industry events that have been postponed or canceled to date to protect the health and safety of participants, employees and communities in the midst of changing the global pandemic of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The loss of training and networking opportunities, particularly in an industry where new information is constantly circulating, is a blow to both novice and experienced growers.

Labor shortages

Although a shortage of workers has permeated labor-intensive jobs for years, the coronavirus can exacerbate these shortages and spread them to industries that have not yet seen it as a major problem.

On the other hand, the impact on all employees in the sector cannot be underestimated. Cannabis companies are already struggling to get standard insurance plans . This means that most companies will not receive reimbursement for offering their employees additional paid time off or any other cost they may incur as a result of the pandemic, leaving many companies with painful decisions about how to deal with it. with employees that other companies do not face.

Supply chain disruptions

Like almost all other industries, experts predict that the hemp industry will inevitably experience disruptions along the supply chain. New economic report on China shows drop in retail sales, industrial production and investment for the first quarter of the year, and economists predict the plunge is far from over, says CNN .

The question of where these supply disruptions will occur, how long they will last and whether they will have a long-term positive or negative outcome for the global hemp industry.

One of the things the coronavirus will do for us is probably to open our eyes to the fact that we have been relying too much on foreign products for too long.

What businesses can do

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have published detailed guidelines for companies on how to prevent occupational exposure to the coronavirus. The highlights of these recommendations are as follows and are valid for all:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.
  • Separate employees who appear sick immediately.
  • Emphasize staying at home in case of illness, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene for all employees.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning.
  • Advise employees before traveling to take certain measures.

Beyond health considerations, companies can take additional steps to protect themselves for the months to come.

Finally, it should be noted that, as harm reduction saves lives, the coronavirus pandemic will require certain behavioral changes on the part of consumers in order to protect themselves and those around them. The use of cannabis has always been known as a largely community activity. Contrary to the alcohol, social norms require that cannabis be shared with those around you. While no one would think about ordering a beer from a bar and passing it between friends, pass a joint, a bowl or bong is common. In fact, not sharing your cannabis is often considered rude.

Until we emerge from this crisis, this behavior must change. It goes without saying that at a time when everyone is asked not to shake hands or not to hug, to take something from their mouth and pass it to a friend to put their mouth on it should be strongly not recommended. For the time being, cannabis users should line up and not share their equipment.

Cannabis users and patients can take other precautions during the pandemic. Consider using vaporizers and avoid burning flowers, as smoke can irritate the lungs, and Covid-19 is primarily a respiratory disease.

Purchasing manufactured goods such as batteries and vape pen cartridges has already become more difficult, as most are created in China, where the virus originated and which has imposed strict restrictions on the movement of goods and people . As the United States increases its own travel restrictions, access to these manufactured goods will only become more difficult, and in some cases impossible.

Is the black market a source of propagation?

Whenever possible, consumers should avoid products from the illicit market and only use products from the legal market, which they grow themselves or when they know and trust farmers fully. Products on the illicit market are untested and are more likely to contain pesticides or harmful contaminants that can stress and damage the lungs. We have already seen a wave of lung disease caused by vape cartridges from the illicit market. During this coronavirus pandemic, cannabis users should do everything they can to limit the weakening of their lungs and immune systems.

Additional consequences

There are a myriad of other cannabis-related consequences of the current pandemic. Cannabis reform measures planned by governments could be delayed or abandoned, as state legislatures focus on the crisis and limit their operations to engage in social distancing.

People serving prison terms for cannabis-related offenses are at increased risk of dying from the virus, as prisons are the perfect confluence of conditions for spreading an infectious disease and generally have substandard health care. Whether or not someone agrees with the legalization, we almost all agree that a cannabis-related offense should never be a prison sentence. States must consider early release for all cannabis offenders, and indeed for all non-violent offenders in general, due to this health crisis.

This global pandemic affects all areas of American and global life and business. The cannabis industry without exception. Only time will tell how real the impact will be. The behavior of consumers, business owners, regulators and legislators over the coming months will go a long way to ensuring that businesses, employees and cannabis users are able to weather the storm ahead.

Tags : coronavirus