Coronavirus Hits the Cannabis Community: SXSW, Spannabis, and More

While it is important to not panic, it is hard to not be extremely concerned about the coronavirus and its impact on all of our daily lives. The wellbeing of people is the most important thing, of course, so any hit to any business sector or community must keep people’s lives, especially those most vulnerable, in mind above all else. I’m not too worried for myself, for instance, just taking extra precautions to ensure that I don’t potentially spread the virus to others, especially my friends with underlying conditions and my senior citizen parents that depend upon me. The cannabis community is certainly not immune and we must do our part to protect each other from this pandemic.

I know that cannabis businesses were early t to feel the brunt of the coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it’s properly named, since many packaging materials and other products are sourced from China. Businesses have faced inventory issues and shipping delays. Now, cannabis events are starting to get cancelled or postponed. SXSW’s cancellation, the first time in the event’s 34-year history, is estimated to have more than a $350 million hit on the economy of Austin, Texas, with service industry employees especially feeling the loss. While not strictly a cannabis event, South by Southwest does include a cannabusiness track, a demonstration of the mainstream nature of the industry.

Barcelona’s Spannabis was just postponed as the Spanish government just announced a prohibition on all events over 1,000 people. I was fortunate to attend Spannabis last year and hope to see the event bounce back in force as it is an important cultural force in Europe. We’re likely going to see many more gatherings canceled and postponed, a real bummer for the community and industry members that have modeled their business, recreation, and networking culture around these events, but people must come before profits.

Kind Leaf, as usual, was a leader among the industry in helping lead the way against the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. We must be extra vigilant to protect our patient population. The pandemic isn’t just impacting the economics of the cannabis industry, but the cultural norms of the cannabis community.  Best not to share joints and other modalities of cannabis use. NORML and cannabis comedian and activist Ngaio Bealum have expressed on Twitter.

The cannabis community has some of the most kind, creative, and forward-thinking people in the world. Now is the time to band together to help protect our community and all communities and to support each other in every way that we can. Much love, everyone.

Spannabis’ announcement in full:

Spannabis

Featured Photo Credit: Darrin Harris Frisby/Drug Policy Alliance

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