Pandemic Pressure Points
How is COVID-19 affecting the cannabis industry?
Charlotte Barker | | Quick Read
Cannabis dispensaries in many territories are being classified as “essential businesses,” alongside pharmacies and food shops – a move welcomed by industry associations and patient groups. Meanwhile, cannabis companies are rallying to join the fight against the virus. A number of cannabis extraction labs are leveraging existing ethanol supply chains to produce much-needed hand sanitizer at high volume, some of which is being donated to police, firefighters, and healthcare staff. Regulated cannabis labs in Canada have even been approached by the government about carrying out COVID-19 testing.
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The economic implications of the pandemic will be looming large in the minds of cannabis companies and investors after a tough year for the industry. US companies’ problems may be compounded by the fact that they are excluded from government financial aid due to the illegal status of the drug at a federal level. Many conferences are being postponed or canceled, including CannaTech Tel Aviv and Cannabis Science Conference East.
And the ugly...
The FDA has issued warning letters to several CBD companies for making false health claims about COVID-19. The agency encourages reporting false claims via an online form here. The International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines board said in a statement, “Several laboratory studies suggest that cannabinoids may have antiviral and antibacterial effects [...] However, there is no evidence that individual cannabinoids – such as CBD, CBG, or THC – or cannabis preparations protect against infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus or could be used to treat COVID-19.”
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