Some Michigan Pot Shops Are Still Opening On Schedule Despite COVID-19
New Standard just moved in down the street, and it’s trying to be a good neighbor.
The provisioning center opened a new Hazel Park, Michigan site on Friday to become suburban Oakland County’s fourth adult-use retailer. It plans to donate a portion of its near-term profits to local businesses hurt by the state’s coronavirus shelter-in-place order.
“Our Hazel Park retail neighbors were forced to close,” New Standard CEO Howard Luckoff said in a press release. “We don’t take lightly that we’ve been able to operate and provide jobs to the New Standard team.”
The Cannabis Business Landscape
Given today's environment, New Standard’s charity — let alone its opening — seems risky. Cannabis retailers are confined to delivery and curbside sales, and they’re serving a clientele with waning discretionary funds.
Recreational sales fell about 20% in the weeks since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a stay-at-home order, according to Crain’s Detroit Business.
Even as industry sales decline, suffering retailers lack the government protection afforded to other small businesses.
Marijauna shops — and other businesses that facilitate the sale of marijuana or serve as vendors to cannabis operations — are ineligible to receive relief distributed by the Small Business Administration.
If the coronavirus forces them to take cost-cutting measures, they have no formal lifeline. Industry lobbyists are pressuring Congress to loosen the restrictions and allow aid to flow to cannabis companies, but such a change may take time.
Opening in this environment certainly has its risks, but New Standard isn’t the only shop keeping its launch schedule. Lume opened its Walled Lake dispensary in late March, and others maintain plans to launch new locations in late April or May.
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