Ed. Note: This story is part of a continuing series about the cannabis industry’s humanitarian efforts during the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic.
With nearly 339,000 confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the U.S., and President Trump cautioning the nation to prepare for the “toughest week,” the pandemic is projected to peak within the next several days in hot spot cities, including New York, New Orleans, and Los Angeles.
The cannabis industry continues to give and make outreach to those in need, showing support to local communities, first responders, and others affected by the global pandemic.
Michael “BigMike” Straumietis and the HUMANITY HEORES Volunteer Team donated 17,000 face masks to shelters on Los Angeles’ Skid Row, to help protect homeless people from the coronavirus, as well as to slow the spread of the pandemic among the most vulnerable in California. Local hospitals will also receive 700 N95 face masks.
Founder of cannabis nutrient company Advanced Nutrients and the Humanity Heroes charitable organization, Straumietis has donated generously during previous crises and made global philanthropy efforts, with homelessness a continuing focus.
E-commerce fulfillment company Red Stag Fulfillment posted an interactive map with state-by-state regulations for “essential businesses,” and shipping regulations effected by pandemic guidelines. The company website said the map has been “designed as a resource for business owners, as well as businesses who may rely on the operations of firms in other states. We hope this helps you understand what each state’s orders mean for your business and your supply chain during this difficult time.”
Cannabis press relations and marketing company Grasslands volunteered with and donated to Food Bank of the Rockies, and suggested that other cannabis industry members do the same with their local food banks and pantries. With more than 701,000 jobs eliminated by employers in March due to the pandemic crisis, impending economic challenges will exist for the newly unemployed, so donations to social resource nonprofits are needed more than ever.
Colorado-based CBD sports drink brand DEFY, founded by NFL Hall of Famer and former Denver Bronco Terrell Davis, said it would donate $400,000 of DEFY branded wellness products to nonprofit Feeding America, including 50,000 bottles of DEFY sports drink, which would be distributed to the nonprofit’s centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Detroit.
Davis, a former Super Bowl MVP, told FOX News, “It’s about leading by example. We’re trying to step up at a time when people are really in need.”
Florida cannabis producer Trulieve will partner with Jacksonville-based Lutheran Social Services to launch a month-long series of streaming programs, focused on social service resources available to Florida residents. The nonprofit operates “four distinct community outreach programs with the overall goal to help those facing hardships stabilize their lives and earn a fresh start,” according to a Trulieve press release.
The series can be found on Trulieve’s YouTube channel.
“Over the past four years, we’ve grown from one store to 45 throughout the State of Florida, and we wouldn’t be able to do that without the support of the communities we become a part of,” said Trulieve Chief Executive Officer Kim Rivers.
“From the beginning, one of our driving goals as a company has been to increase and deliver accessibility to Florida’s patients. The current COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to so many; not just to our ‘Trulievers,’ but to the communities we are fortunate to call home. We feel honored that we can use our platform to help our fellow Floridians find, access, and understand the resources available to them and are thankful to our long-term community partners in helping us do so,” she added.
California-based cannabis cultivator Glass House Group donated 1,000 surgical gowns to the Cottage Hospital, located in Santa Barbara, California. The company said it also would continue to try and source personal protective equipment (PPEs) including gowns and facemasks, which are also used by cannabis cultivators in order to keep sterile growing facilities free from exposure to bacteria, toxins, or pests. Five percent of proceeds from the company’s local product sales, in Santa Barbara, will also be donated to coronavirus resource charities.
“As one of the few industries deemed essential during the COVID-19 crisis, cannabis companies and dispensaries around the country are not only continuing to serve the needs of medical patients and consumers, but they are also stepping up to help healthcare workers and their communities in creative ways,” Glass House said in a press release.
California CBD product producer Nu-X Ventures has begun delivering bottles of free hand sanitizer to Los Angeles, with its new Project Blue Horizon program.
“Nu-X distributed the first few thousand hand sanitizer bottles and bulk gallons this Tuesday in an emergency production run, which went to the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center,” said a company press release.
Los Angeles residents that would like to receive free 30ml bottles (limit ten bottles per household), should visit the Nu-X website here.
“Any company that uses this time as an opportunity to profit from products that are indispensable towards efforts to fight COVID-19 are misaligned,” said Nu-X Senior Director Lorenzo De Plano. “We see an opportunity to contribute and help and we will do whatever is in our power to do exactly that. We hope other companies with the capacity to do so will do the same.”
Cannabis retailer Happy Valley Ventures, with stores located in Boston and Gloucester, Massachusetts, pledged to support local restaurants during pandemic physical-distancing restrictions in the state. The company, which provides Friday lunches for store staffers, will continue to patronize local restaurants and urges other companies to do the same.
“We wanted to play our part in the local community during these trying times to not only support small business owners but also our employees,” said Happy Valley Chief Executive Officer Michael Reardon. According to media reports, the U.S. restaurant industry has been hardest hit by pandemic regulation, followed by the retail sector.
Charlie’s Place, located in Gloucester, is one of the restaurants that will be on the list for Friday lunches. “I’m so grateful for companies like Happy Valley that support the local restaurant industry in Gloucester. An order for 75 people every week will certainly help keep us afloat during this tough time,” said Charlie’s Place owner Gina Fennesey in a press release.
Cannabis genetics company Medicinal Genomics Corp. (MGC) has pledged proceeds from ticket sales for its CannMed 2020 tradeshow, will be donated to pandemic relief. The show is scheduled for September 20 – 22, at the convention center in Pasadena, California.
The annual conference focuses on science, medicine, cultivation, and safety in the cannabis industry. “Every year, CannMed has grown in popularity and importance. And with more sponsors, exhibitors, and speakers, the 2020 event will be the best yet,” said Medicinal Genomics’ CannMed Events Director Douglas Kennedy in a press release. “The entire industry desperately needs and deserves a forum where the leading practitioners can present groundbreaking research, and the best practices and latest innovations in safety and production. CannMed has become that forum.”