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Is the cannabis industry being affected by Coronavirus?

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Coronavirus. Pandemic. Emergency. These words come with an associated sense of terror today. New cases are being detected everyday. The number of deaths all over the world are rising. Each new day comes with a baggage of uncertainty. In a situation like this, it is not surprising that countries all over the world are experiencing an economic slowdown. This is predominantly due to the manufacturing industries being shut down as workers and labourers are given leave and strictly asked to stay within the walls of their home. Cannabis industry, being no exception, has not been able to escape the clutches of the virus. Marijuana and hemp companies, from cultivators to distributors, are facing the axe of the global economic fallout due to the virus outbreak.

Fall in imports from China

Vaping cannabis, has been one of the most prevalent method of smoking cannabis across the world. Vape hardware, particularly the cartridges used in a vape, is primarily manufactured in China. Since China is the origin of COVID-19, where the root of the epidemic lies, supply of vape hardware has been causing much wary amongst vape users as well as vape retailers, across the world. Countries such as USA and Canada, where cannabis legalisation is a reality- grow their own marijuana and hence, have ample supply of it. However, due to shortage of vaporizers, vape batteries as well as vape cartridges, which were otherwise imported from China, sale of cannabis has fallen. Owing to the disruption of the supply-chain of cannabis, vape retailers have started looking at countries such as India and Mexico, as alternative options for the same.

Not only manufacturing industry, but cannabis and marijuana industry is dependant on the packaging industry of China as well. Since the packaging industry of China has also been batten down, packaging of marijuana has emerged as an issue. As the virus has been declared as pandemic and is communicable, cannabis users have also been on guard regarding safe consumption of cannabis. People have been avoiding China manufactured and packaged cannabis. Kushco Holdings, US based company that provides adjuvant products for cannabis industry, stated that “We started looking beyond China for packaging when President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese goods.” Packaging options in countries like Taiwan and India are being looked at. These steps are being taken keeping in mind the prudence necessary in case of an epidemic.

Cannabis events stand cancelled

The problems of cannabis industry however does not end here. Legalisation of cannabis, a long-drawn battle being fought since quite sometime now, is seeming to lose its fuel now, on account of the outbreak leading to canceling of all meetings and gatherings. Major cannabis events that were crucial for the growth and advancements of cannabis were either postponed or canceled. One of these events being, Spannabis, an annual reference exhibition event of cannabis industry, which was to be held in Spain, in collaboration with the eighth edition of World Cannabis Conference. Given the stigma associated with cannabis, this event was a trademark step towards eliminating these stigmas as this event brought together cannabis agents who were going to represent the political, scientific as well as medical facts associated with cannabis. Apart from Spannabis, other significant events being SWSX festival, Canna Tech, National Cannabis Unity Conference, Oklahome Cannabis expo, among several others, stand canceled.

Panic sale

However, medicinal cannabis users have been advised beforehand to stock up their medications and this has led to a rise in sales of cannabis across many parts, as reported by cannabis dispensaries. Since smoking of cannabis leaves could cause to worse the conditions of a COVID-19 positive patient, users have been shifting their preferred consumption to cannabis tinctures, which are prepared using alchohol as a solvent, are considered to be safer than loose leaf smoking. Sale of CBD oil also has been on the rise, particularly because of its medicinal benefits, as well as it being ingestible. Depending on the severity of the infection in affected areas, sales of cannabis has been found to be fluctuating. While this is contributing scarcely towards balancing the loss experienced by the cannabis industry, as long as the losses are not extremely grim, the infant cannabis industry has been commendable, in being able to keep its neck above the water.

Takeaway

While the spread of coronavirus is aggravating and wave of panic is grapling worldwide population, we are all aware of cannabis’ effect on reducing stress and anxiety. Use this quarrantine period to take some time out from your hectic lives and relax. So sit back, take a puff from your favorite vape- BUT do not pass. Sterilise it before you use it. Think twice before you act, as in times like this, minute, seemingly unimportant steps can create a huge difference. Let this not be a setback but an obstacle, that needed to be dealt with. It’s an oppurtunity for India to step up to the vacancy carved by the China market and work towards expanding and advancing it’s own cannabis industry.

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