Close to a year after the coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, China, eventually wreaking untold havoc on the world at large, scientists have developed vaccines that can provide immunity against the virus. However, it won’t be until spring at the very least before the majority of the U.S. population is vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. People who are at greatest risk of exposure to the virus have been given first priority as the first round of vaccinations begins, and a coalition of cannabis companies is asking for their employees to be included in that round.
When the pandemic broke out and state governments issued lockdown orders, the cannabis industry was one of the few sectors deemed essential and allowed to keep operating. Unlike most other industries, cannabis workers often interact with immunocompromised and elderly people, usually the only ones who qualify for medical marijuana. The group of cannabis companies argues that including cannabis workers in the next phase of coronavirus vaccine distribution protects not only the employees but also their vulnerable customers.
Cannabis workers have provided an essential treatment every day for the past nine months to thousands of California residents, the group wrote in a letter to the Community Vaccine Advisory Committee at the California Department of Public Health. As these employees deploy numerous health and safety measures at great expense, they face the risk of infection every time they head out to provide an essential service, says David Spradlin, CEO of cannabis company Perfect Union.
Due to cannabis’ illegal status at the federal level, the industry has faced several challenges in the midst of the pandemic. Fearing retaliation from the federal government, banking institutions tend to avoid working with cannabis businesses, forcing them to transact on a cash-basis only. Since the coronavirus can exist on paper surfaces for up to 28 days, employees who regularly interact with physical currency are at great risk of infection.
Additionally, cannabis companies cannot secure economic relief funds from agencies such as the Small Business Administration, forcing these companies to stretch their already-thin resources so they can implement health procedures to keep their staff and employees safe. The fact that their customers are often more vulnerable and more likely to suffer severe coronavirus complications makes their inclusion in phase 1B even more urgent.
The coalition pushing for the vaccination of cannabis workers is made up of 23 marijuana businesses including Carter’s Aromatherapy Design, Wyld, Megans’ Organic Market, Maven Genetics, Vet CBD, Plus Products and Loudpack.
Still on the matter of cannabis companies, Gage Cannabis Co. has high hopes of hitting it big on the Michigan marijuana market. This relatively new company is well aware that the Michigan cannabis industry is valued at approximately $3 billion, and Gage Cannabis wants to have up to 25 operational provisioning centers in the state by this year’s end.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Gage Cannabis Co. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/GAGE
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