Cannabis companies had to adapt their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to increased risks, including exposure to changed work compensation, said an expert panel.
Medical cannabis was considered an important business in most states where it is legal and allowed to remain open, but other companies were forced to close and forced pharmacies and their suppliers to adapt.
Garrett Graff, chief partner at the Hoban Law Group in Denver, said the difference between medical and recreational marijuana affected states' responses. Massachusetts, for example, considered medical cannabis to be essential but not recreational cannabis.
He spoke on Thursday during the fourth in a series of webinars on the cannabis sector sponsored by Business Insurance .
States responded closely at many pharmacies, Graff said. Some states issued emergency orders that enabled delivery and went up where no one had previously been allowed. Others like Colorado maintained a strict "brick-and-mortar" regime to ensure proof of age and identity and overall security, he said.
Suppliers faced challenges because a "pharmacy rush" led many customers to order stock, said Eduardo Provencio, senior vice president, legal for BellRock Brands Inc., a Denver-based cannabis product company. Selling and delivering cannabis products was difficult in the midst of COVID's restriction, he said.
The expansion to delivery caused by the pandemic restrictions that brought advantages and disadvantages, the speakers said.
Jeremy Siegel, vice president of compliance and legal risk for Eaze Technologies Inc., a San Francisco-based cannabis market and supply company, said some states, such as Massachusetts and Colorado, had an independent supply licensing scheme, which helped smaller companies to operate in the sector.
Mr. Siegel said that delivery expanded in the middle of the pandemic locks. "Because people could not go into pharmacies, they definitely turned to delivery," he said.
The downside was increased risk, says Jim McErlean, Business Development Manager at Cannasure Insurance Services LLC. in Redondo Beach, California.
Delivery and shutdown on the outside exposes employees to increased exposure to workers, says McErlean.
The extra cost of insuring the potential new exposures can be "expensive" in what Mr. McErlean is called a tough market.
Recordings of BI 's cannabis webinar series can be found here. Catalog