Cannabis and Coronavirus

April 16, 2020

How will the pandemic affect your business?

It depends…

Not a great answer, but it’s the correct answer. The effect depends on our adaptations to changes caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The law of cause and effect states that every effect has a specific and predictable cause. And every cause or action has a specific and predictable effect.

The coronavirus pandemic is the cause, that’s easy. But “predictable effect” is impossible to determine due to lack of experience with both coronavirus and cannabis. There are no instructions or best practices for dealing with a pandemic such as coronavirus. And the emerging cannabis industry is just that, emerging, and rife with its own business, legal, financial, and societal challenges. Without knowledge or historical examples, we have no way to predict the effects that will shape a new business environment.

What we can do...

Study how businesses survived (and some thrived) during economic downturns. The basic business survival tips for managing during an economic downturn are: 

Watch and learn from what China, Italy and other countries are doing right now. This will require searching for and studying current information. “How Chinese Companies Have Responded to Coronavirus” (Harvard Business Review, March 10, 2020 is a good place to start. The authors offer the following tips:

  • Look ahead and constantly reframe your efforts.
  • Use an adaptive, bottom-up approach to complement top-down efforts.
  • Proactively create clarity and security for employees.
  • Reallocate labor flexibly to different activities.
  • Shift your sales channel mix.
  • Use social media to coordinate employees and partners.
  • Prepare for a faster recovery than you expect.
  • Expect different recovery speeds for different sectors.
  • Look for opportunity amid adversity.
  • Adapt your recovery strategy by location.
  • Rapidly innovate around new needs.
  • Spot new consumption habits being formed.

Be an expert in your business and its position in the cannabis industry. You should already be an expert. Learn more. Position your business as a leader in the cannabis industry and your community.

Stay informed about the coronavirus pandemic and its potential effects. There’s a lot of information available. Be sure to use trusted sources. Check out “How the Coronavirus Pandemic Will Affect The Cannabis Industry” (Forbes, March 10, 2020 The author writes in-depth about medical marijuana businesses and the challenges of the emerging cannabis industry, including:

  • Protect patients first.
  • Protect all non-patients and staff.
  • More flexibility in state government rules.
  • Cannabis is essential for many non-patients.
  • Cannabis businesses may need a bail out.

Revise your business and marketing communications plans. Start with a situation analysis. The situation is the pandemic. The pandemic is the cause. We can’t predict all the effects of the pandemic, but we do know that there will be significant changes in the economy, society, and how we conduct business. It’s critically important that your plans address these changes.

It will be hard work. Will it be worth it? Of course.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.” – Dale Carnegie

Check back on April 30 for more on how to revise your business and marketing communications plans and efficiently manage your business through this crisis.