Changing Habits: How Team Members Are Rallying during COVID-19

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This week, in part two of mg‘s “Changing Habits” series, we’re following up on our discussion with cannabis executives about how COVID-19 has changed operations. This installment focuses on how their team members are responding. The greatest coronavirus strategy response plan in the world is not worth all that much if your team does not buy-in. 

For George Sadler, president at Platinum, coordinating new plans with his team starts with the basics. “We keep open lines of communication with our team,” Sadler told mg. “We regularly talk to them about the situation and their response has been very positive.”


Communication barriers can cause issues during normal operations, but they can be far more disruptive during times of crisis.

“We have open forum discussions and talk to our team members one-on-one,” Sadler said. “If someone in manufacturing wants to talk to an executive, they can. There’s no red tape or unnecessary corporate formalities.”

The team is responding well to the new circumstances, perhaps partially because Platinum’s executive leadership is serving lunch for over 100 employees daily, but more likely because everyone at Platinum believes in the company’s vision. “This is a team effort and if we are going to get through this, we have to do it together.”

At Lowell Farms, employees stay connected through video conferencing and virtual meetings. “At the same time, we are encouraging our work-from-home teams to get out and get fresh air while keeping a safe distance from others,” a Lowell representative told mg. “We are actively encouraging more meditation, mindfulness, and exercise during this time.”

Not only are members of Lowell responding well to the changes in their daily work procedures, but they’re addressing the needs of those in vulnerable populations. 

“The team felt it was important to get food to our at-risk populations, so we’ve made donations to Meals on Wheels to keep seniors safe and provide them access to meals,” said Lowell’s rep. “We are supporting the Last Prisoner Project’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, which provides resources to help with costs for additional medical care, phone calls with loved ones, and commissary needs for nonviolent cannabis offenders during this crisis. We’re also sensitive to how COVID-19 has impacted our homeless population and [we have] contributed to the LA Food Bank.”

Mary Beth Ersig, founder of Ocean Cannabis Co., has different concerns when it comes to motivating her team. She runs a family business, and while every employer needs to treat every decision they make about employee safety with the utmost care, the stakes seem even more personal for Ersig.

As a longtime activist who has volunteered at many socially conscious organizations including homeless shelters and food pantries that help Los Angeles residents living in Skid Row, Ersig knows full well that we have to look to each other to get through difficult times. Her team, which includes her children, have responded positively to the crisis and are working hard to keep cannabis deliveries going to those in need of safe access and relief. 

“We are all in this together and it is crucial that we all step up however we can,” she said.