By Michael Sassano, founder and CEO of Solaris Farms, one of the largest and most high tech cannabis growers in Nevada, and Head of the Board at Somai Pharma, a medical cannabis product distributor in the European Union.
Don’t panic, but it’s time to look at a slow down in all businesses, including cannabis sales. Recently, I have been traveling as the Coronavirus started to spread across the globe. Everywhere i travelled I would see empty airports, no lines, plenty of cabs, upgrades at hotels, and empty restaurants. It became readily apparent that people aren’t traveling. A few friends joked that sales will go up as people stay at home and smoke more, but trends show that sales are down across the board.
Since we (Solaris Farms) are located in Vegas, and heavily reliant on tourism, places like ours will be heavily hit until the virus spread is contained; I’m guessing about two months until confidence to come to Vegas is restored. But even if you cater to a larger pool besides local populations, you more than likely will still need to pull the belt in a little.
Here are some tips for production, sales, and dispensary buy sides:
Reduce your costs. This is the hard part.
See Also: How The Coronavirus Is Impacting The Cannabis Industry
Plants need maintenance and what you are doing today will be felt 3 to 4 months from now. Eventually, the market returns to new normal, so you cannot just kill off the plants and shut your doors. Look at things you don’t need to buy or can wait for another time. Give employees some time off or reduced hours so that they can recharge the battery. Encourage people with built up vacation to use it now while things are slow.
Maybe take a crop out of rotation and slow your velocity of spin; you can always increase it later and you still have 3 months of your normal harvests that will need to be dried and stored as backup for the lost crop. It’s also important to suspend any tours you may provide and implement serious restrictions for staff; these precautions could include a questionnaire about travel in the past 14 days, a manual temperature check, and all masks, bodysuits, hair covers, gloves, and booties needing to be alcohol sprayed from head to toe.
Reduce your prices. Good cannabis can be sold at good prices.
See Also: Coronavirus Quarantine Drives Marijuana And Alcohol Sales
Nobody can pass up a good deal; and generally dispensaries don’t have overly large inventories and can always fit some extra poundage in their vault rooms. Offer the dispensaries extra value add during this time and help them with your social media, or by using some of the sales proceeds to advertise on Weedmaps or Leafly to help drive traffic through the doors or promote their delivery capabilities if people don’t want foot traffic. Take care of the bud tenders since they are not at home but actually working for us all. Some kind steps go a long way in the cannabis community.
Communication is the key to all problem solving.
Information in these situations is important in making proper decisive decisions. Monitor daily sales numbers. Give more specials than usual. Reduce prices. Look for good buying opportunities to replenish stock. Reduce business hours and staffing hours. Encourage people to take time off if they financially can. Increase or add to your delivery advertising, it’s always good to promote this capability if you have it. Curbside delivery is also becoming an attractive option for both dispensaries and stuck-at-home consumers. If you’re able to keep your retail space open, make sure to instill very thorough wipe down procedures and limit the number of buyers inside the shop.
See Also: 3 Ways To Share Cannabis Without Transmitting The Coronavirus
In the end, this all will pass but don’t make the mistake of blindly charging forward when there are some dramatic changes taking effect in regards to travel and shopping habits. After all, remaining calm and collected is part of the cannabis industry mode. Making a contingency plan and monitoring the situation will never turn out to be a bad situation.
Photo courtesy of Solaris Farms.
The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.
Lee Benzinga Cannabis en Español: 3 Maneras de Compartir Cannabis sin Transmitir el Coronavirus
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