Since the Covid-19 pandemic began in the U.S. earlier this year, the legal cannabis industry has struggled to adapt to closures, curb-side pickup, increased delivery demand and now the “new normal” for retail shopping experiences. On the positive side, the pandemic has also provided the cannabis industry a unique opportunity to solidify its role in the economy, communities, and people’s lives. We’ve seen major strides in the industry over the past several months that will help position the industry for even greater long-term success.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the majority of states in the United States placed stay-at-home orders, requiring citizens to stay home to reduce the spread of the virus. Several months later we are beginning to reopen the country and establish a “new normal” for daily life, including retail shopping experiences.
In addition to the stay-at-home orders, most local governments had ordered nonessential businesses to close down temporarily. Every state provided guidance for classifying essential and nonessential businesses. Among the few businesses that were considered essential, the cannabis industry has been classified as essential in states with medical or adult use laws. Thus, allowing cannabis businesses to stay open, although often with restrictions geared toward health and safety. This designation not only helped to remove the negative bias associated with cannabis, but demonstrated that these products are necessary for people who use them. We’ve seen many states release emergency measures, including provisions allowing for curbside pickup, delivery, expedited ID cards, or telehealth.
With these major strides for the industry, we have also seen an increase in the use of technology to aid in safe reopening around the country. As dispensaries begin the initial phases of reopening, they are required to follow guidelines maintaining the health and safety of both employees and customers. Dispensaries are adapting quick to the emerging retail themes from Covid-19.
As the cannabis industry continues to move forward, so are the customers. Dispensary customers are looking for contactless pickup and delivery, online ordering options and self-service devices in store as a result of the health concerns from Covid19. Covid19 has created a significant demand for safety products to allow people to protect themselves, and self-service is playing a big part in this. As businesses slowly reopen, they can utilize self-service to aid in social distancing and other safety precautions. There is no question self-service equipment will play a big role in what many now refer to as the “new normal.