Cannabis and Coronavirus: Industry Efforts Protect the Vulnerable and More

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PHOTO: LightField Studios/ Shutterstock.com.

Ed. Note: This story is part of a continuing series about the cannabis industry’s humanitarian efforts during the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic.


It was a 4/20 like no other, followed by Earth Day on April 22—all overshadowed by the global COVID-19 crisis. After more than a month of restrictions, the cannabis industry took the community online for streaming events and a subdued, virtual celebration of the cannabis culture’s biggest holiday.

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Cross-promotions with brands, celebrities, giveaways, and performances made up for the total lack of public gatherings. With live events cancelled for the foreseeable future in many areas, more brands and celebrities affected by physical distancing protocols will certainly start streaming as an alternative to trade and consumer shows, and other public events.

While adapting to the “new abnormal,” cannabis industry members continue to donate, raise funds, and contribute when they can and where it’s needed:

Cannabis branding agency Wick & Mortar announced the launch of an initiative to help small cannabis businesses affected by the pandemic’s economic effects. A group of industry experts have been brought together to help industry colleagues and peers weather the storm.

High Grade Hope Project sponsors include Chronic Relief, Real Wellness, Viola, Raw, Section 2, Top Tree Agency, Last Prisoner Project, Green Flower, and Farechild Events.

“Small businesses and people in our community continue to get pushed out of the market and are having their lives and livelihoods seriously challenged as the virus impacts cannabis ‘grow’, retail stores, and operations. The ripple effect of this threatens jobs, individuals’ healthcare, as well as industry diversity, stability, and innovation,” said the project’s website.

Arizona-based payment software company Alt Thirty Six launched MaskUp.Love, a donation-based fundraising campaign targeting the U.S. national shortage of surgical face masks for healthcare professionals brought on by the novel coronavirus.

“Nurses, doctors, and first responders are the heroes of this pandemic,” said Alt Thirty Six co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Ken Ramirez. “It’s our responsibility as a society to protect them however we can. Surgical grade masks are a critical resource for this ongoing public health crisis. As members of our communities, we believe the cannabis industry has a responsibility to give back and do our part to support those suffering from this global pandemic.”

The demand for hand sanitizer continues, as experts and politicians debate whether the pandemic is leveling off in the U.S. enough to allow the economy to reopen. Some predict social distancing and hygiene protocols could remain in effect until 2021.

4Front Ventures Corp. shifted manufacturing capabilities at its Washington production facility to begin producing hand sanitizer. In partnership with the Last Prisoner Project, the company will donate a portion of the subsequent product to select prison populations in need of supplies.

“The incarcerated population is extremely vulnerable and at a unique risk to this pandemic, as it is nearly impossible to adhere to the recommended social distancing guidelines amid overcrowding and unsanitary living conditions” said Leo Gontmakher, chief executive officer at 4Front. “We don’t believe any human being should serve a prison sentence for a cannabis offense, much less face incarceration during a global pandemic like COVID-19. Working with the Last Prisoner Project will allow us to reach a community that is often overlooked or forgotten in situations like this and really make a difference.”

Nevada-based cannabis producer Jahlibyrd donated 15,000 KN95 face masks to local first responders in Northern California and donated 10,000 feet of facility space to The Food Bank of Nevada County, for storing and packaging. The company also partnered with South Fork Vodka to produce hand sanitizer, which was donated to front liners.

Hawaii’s Aloha Green Holdings, Inc., with two Aloha Green Apothecary dispensaries in Honolulu, is producing and providing—free of charge for registered patients—hemp-based hand sanitizer.

Local news station KITV4 reported, “According to regulations, patients must have a valid 329 card to enter a retail dispensary. No purchase is necessary. Aloha Green Apoth reminds people that health authorities say soap and water is still the most effective method to cleaning your hands and avoiding infection, but that using a 60 percent-plus alcohol-based solution when soap and water is unavailable is also effective.”

Wisconsin-based Botanics & Health Inc., parent company of Tru-leaf™ CBD brand, pledged 25 percent of its revenue to Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee, to support healthcare workers.

“To help Aurora Health and its workers, text ‘relief’ to 31996 to order Tru-Releaf online at a discount with the promo code ‘aurora’ and have it delivered to your door by the U.S. Mail safely and securely. You will help yourself live pain free while helping support Aurora Health healthcare workers in this time of need,” explained Chief Executive Officer of Botanics & Health Inc. Michael J. Schultz.

“We created Tru-Releaf to help others with their pain and as a member of the Wisconsin community, we want to support those who provide much needed care to others. The sacrifice we are making financially can’t compare to the sacrifices they are making every day, and we will continue our support until the war against this pandemic is over,” Schultz added.

CBD brand Green Gorilla has announced its Buy-1-Give-1 initiative, which will provide CBD products to those on the front lines of the pandemic, for every unit sold.

“For every online order placed of an Organic 1200mg Full Spectrum CBD Oil on Green Gorilla’s website, the company will donate a CBD oil to a first responder including nurses, doctors, firefighters, police, and other brave emergency workers fighting the pandemic (all they have to do is register on the website and place the order),” the company said.

“Additionally, those purchasing the product on the site will also receive a second bottle complimentary, as a goodwill gesture for contributing to the cause,” Green Gorilla’s press release continued.

Ivan L Moody, lead singer for the band Five Finger Death Punch and frontman at Moody’s Medicinals announced the CBD company will donate thousands of its CBD hand sanitizer sprays to veteran-led and veteran-serving charities, including Workshops for Warriors.

“Many people are experiencing the uncertainty of this moment, and none more so than our veterans,” Moody said. “Over 10 percent of our veterans have PTSD in a given year. We have to make sure we are keeping our veterans in mind during this difficult time.”

CBD wellness brand STRAINS OF LIFE (S•O•L) will provide special sale prices throughout the month of April, for those suffering from the ill effects of stress, caused by the pandemic.

Customers can receive a “42 percent discount on 1500mg, 1000mg, and 500mg CBD Hemp Oils with code GOTSOL at website www.sol.md, or use code SOL420 to get a 20 percent discount on all other products available on the website.” Free shipping is offered to customers in the U.S., according to a company press release.

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