As the coronavirus pandemic becomes more severe and containment measures increasingly disrupt our normal lives, I’m sure many of us share the same concerns. Will my loved ones and I be safe and healthy? What will happen to my job or business? What does the future look like?
In periods of such uncertainty, I always look to family. Not just my own, but my NCIA family – our staff and valued members who have stood with us through so many challenges. I know that together, we can all get through any struggle.
Perhaps just as importantly, I rely on NCIA’s core values to guide me in difficult times.
First and foremost, we have a responsibility to promote the health and safety of our communities by doing whatever is necessary to halt the spread of the virus.
For the past several days, NCIA’s staff has been working remotely in Washington, D.C., Denver, and California. And we are proudly advocating for federal relief for the industry, still pushing for Congressional reforms as much as possible under the current limitations, and continuing to build inclusive coalitions across the country.
And we are educating state policymakers on the need for consumers, especially patients, to obtain clean and tested cannabis from legitimate sources for the duration of the coronavirus response. NCIA and our allies are reaching out to state governments, urging them to declare cannabis businesses “essential” as early as possible and to take measures to facilitate safe access. You can help us by personalizing this template letter and sending it to your governor.
We understand the frustration and fear that many of our members may be feeling as we move forward into unknown territory. However, our industry is used to weathering the worst of storms and thriving in the harshest environments. The number one priority for everyone should be to minimize the duration and impact of this horrible situation that is costing lives.
As such, we are urging all our members to do the following, as applicable to you or your businesses:
- Please strictly adhere to all federal, state, and local health guidance. This is essential for slowing the spread of the virus as soon as possible.
- Prioritize patient access. At a time when the healthcare system is already overburdened, it is vital for our most vulnerable neighbors to be able to get the medicine that works best for them.
- Limit in-person retail operations to maximize social distancing and utilize alternative service options. We should try to go above and beyond official guidance, as well as encourage things like delivery, online ordering, drive-thru, and curbside pickup where available.
- Implement additional cleaning and sanitary practices at every level. This industry is already a great example of cleanliness, but we can always do better.
- Encourage telework to the greatest extent possible. There are many ways to make this easier in the modern workplace, and it is quickly becoming the norm during the pandemic.
- If you can, please consider contributing to local efforts to assist those most in need in your communities. Coronavirus is affecting everyone, but some are feeling the impact much more than others. Generosity and compassion will help us all get through this together and come out stronger.
In order to protect the safety of our staff, event partners, and members, we have postponed our 10th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days — originally scheduled for May — to September 15-17. We are committed to providing the value embodied by the affected events to our members later this year, and in the meantime, we will be creating new digital opportunities to learn, network, advocate, and make your businesses stand out.
We continue to monitor all our other events including the Cannabis Business Summit in San Francisco, and will be in touch in the days ahead with any updates.
NCIA is confident that the industry will rise to this occasion and continue to grow and thrive. Because that is exactly what we do best! We persevere and overcome obstacles that seem insurmountable. And we assure you that NCIA will continue to represent the industry in our nation’s capital and offer support to help you get through the weeks and months ahead.
In health and unity,
Executive Director and Co-founder
National Cannabis Industry Association