Cannabis Exec Mary Pryor Urges Companies To Up Their Game In Fight Against COVID-19
Cannabis companies can and should do more to help as the COVID-19 pandemic grips the world, according to entrepreneur Mary Pryor.
The chief marketing officer for New York-based Tonic CBD and co-founder of cannabis stock photo company Cannaclusive told Benzinga that companies in North America should do their part by pivoting production or donating essential goods.
Some companies in the space have shifted toward producing thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer. Others have donated gear, such as personal protective equipment like gowns and N95 masks, to hospitals and others on the frontline.
Pryor said she applauds these efforts — and challenges others to get involved. For its part, Tonic has donated over $15,000 in CBD products to medical professionals and those on the front line, she said.
"All of us are somewhat affected by what's happening right now," said Pryor, who said she's lost several people in her life to the virus.
In addition to providing CBD to front line workers, Pryor said Tonic is now shifting nonprofit partners weekly to support various causes.
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'An Economic Shift For Months, Years To Come'
Cannabis has always been a big picture industry with a long-term focus, Pryor said, and adds that the same should apply to giving back and committing to a recovery from the pandemic.
"In cannabis, a lot of people are now figuring out how to support what's going on. This isn't going to be like 'oh, the clouds lifted. Let's stop donating to people,'" she said. "We're looking at an economic shift for months, years to come."
Companies need to be asking what they want to be remembered for, she said
Pryor named three focus areas for cannabis companies at this time: producing high-quality products, demonstrating customer care through content and messaging and being aware that a company has the finances or resources to make a difference.
She elaborated on the third point. "It might not be great. It might not be grandiose. It might not be millions of dollars, but it's something," she said.
Companies should also look at their resources and see what they can provide, Pryor said.
Delivery companies, for example, may be able to incorporate food delivery into their offerings to aid those unable to get resources.
A media company could shift its attention to educating the public through its content. One such example would be discussing a pivot to non-smokable items, like edibles or tinctures, to align with advice from various medical professional, she said.
A Focus On Medicinal Value
The pandemic has generated a flurry of discussion, with some of it based on fact while some companies have been flagged for unverified claims.
Now is the time to double down on fact-based discussions, Pryor said.
"If the cannabis industry isn't showing how they can unite or support others through understanding what the medicine was all about the first way, then it's a giant missed opportunity," she said. "There's an opportunity there for this to be finally seen as medicine versus a smokeout."
Photo provided by Cannaclusive.
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