By the ounce  

Cannabis and coronavirus

Initially, COVID-19 was merely an inconvenience for stoners.

With panicked shoppers buying out all the isopropyl alcohol, we couldn’t clean our bongs or vapes.

As infections spread, it’s fast becoming a much larger problem for everyone, including in the cannabis community.

For starters, the pandemic is causing the cancellation of events.

One of the country’s biggest cannabis events, 420 Vancouver, announced it was taking a hiatus.

“Though 4/20 is a protest, it is not a protest against health officials, and it makes sense to help them protect the public from the outbreak of an infectious virus,” said 420 Vancouver organizers.

Locally, the Growing Summit in Kelowna has also been postponed.

The conference, which was to bring together legacy and legal growers, was scheduled for March 31 and April 1 at The Laurel Packinghouse downtown.

“It was important to make a decision given the news of the last 20 hours,” organizers said in an email.

Many conferences set for Canada, the U.S., and elsewhere internationally, have been postponed or cancelled.

Cannabis sales, meanwhile, have spiked as consumers begin to stockpile. It’s a trend being seen all over the country.

Spiritleaf in Vernon said it has seen an uptick in sales, adding they are taking steps to protect staff and customers from COVID-19.

“We have removed our sensory jars as these sample containers are handled frequently by staff and customers,” said the store in a statement posted to Instagram.

“We want you to know that our store is and always has been cleaned regularly, and touched up throughout the day by our amazing staff, ensuring all high-traffic areas are sanitized regularly.”

Spiritleaf offered a few tips for people staying home:

  • Stock up — you’re allowed 30 grams of cannabis per transaction.
  • Call in your order to speed the process up in store.
  • Use a local delivery service with a 19-plus driver.

As the pandemic drags on, it’s likely that cannabis stores will be forced to close. It also has the potential to lead to a weakened legal supply chain due to a shortage of masks and gloves — requirements for staff at licensed producers.

Keep in mind that for many, cannabis is medicine. Health Canada suggests filling prescriptions and ensuring you have a good supply of the medications you need.

While the purchase and carry limit is 30 grams, you can have as much as you want at home.

Here are five practical tips:

Don’t pass the Dutchie: Now is not the time to share the same joint or vape with others. We are being advised to create social distance to slow the spread and flatten the curve.

Don’t panic: Getting paranoid about things while high is not fun. If you’re aware that you tend to overthink things negatively, then take a break or switch to CBD strains.

Don’t sellout: Those who own weed stocks are panic selling. Portfolios across the board are hurting, so don’t dump all your investments while they are plummeting. Markets recover, like people after they get sick.

Do prepare: The infection rate is said to be 30-70%, so make sure you are gradually building up your pantry, closet and freezer with things you will use. Having the munchies and no food is not fun.

Do relax: If you can work from home now, enjoy the experience. If you’re in the position to take a vacation or sabbatical, this is the time. Creating social distance also means you can spend time at home with family without the pressure to always be on the go.


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About the Author

David Wylie is publisher of the oz. — a cannabis newsletter that covers the growing legal weed industry from the Okanagan Valley.

He has been a journalist for nearly two decades, working in newsrooms all over Canada.  

David is active as okanaganz on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. Subscribe to the email newsletter at okanaganz.com.

An ounce of info goes a long way.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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