Like all industries, a new shutdown will kill any job growth or worker training going on all over the country, including in the cannabis industry.
This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.
The world is full of worry again today as a new COVID strain, referred to as Omicron, has the World Health Organization (WHO) worried and travel restrictions in several countries are once again in place. As CNBC summarized the recent WHO health announcement on the new COVID strain:
The World Health Organization on Friday assigned the Greek letter omicron to a newly identified Covid variant in South Africa.The U.N. health agency recognized the strain, first referred to as lineage B.1.1.529, as a variant of concern.
Health experts are deeply concerned about the transmissibility of the omicron variant given that it has an unusual constellation of mutations and a profile that is different from other variants of concern.
“Omicron, B.1.1.529, is named as a variant of concern because it has some concerning properties,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, said in a video published on Twitter. “This variant has a large number of mutations, and some of these mutations have some worrying characteristics.”
In a true silver linings story, marijuana legalization and technology innovation boomed during the first COVID-19 shutdowns. Many states declared cannabis an “essential item” much like alcohol, and that allowed for massive advancements in curbside pickups, online ordering, and even delivery services in many areas.
Many states advanced cannabis legalization at a quicker pace than would have been seen without a COVID pandemic, and many people tried cannabis for the first time during the pandemic months. But what about a second shutdown or a more serious restrictive set up than we have now? What if Omicron causes a second “stay home” agenda in some states?
Let’s look at 5 questions regarding Omicron and the marijuana industry and see what happens if this variant becomes a serious threat to the economic recovery underway. Does a serious COVID variant like Omicron help or hurt the cannabis industry? The first COVID waves greatly helped the cannabis industry, or at least vaulted legalization, technology, and customer market share light years forward after cannabis was deemed an “essential item”. A second shutdown wave, while hurting current aspects of the marijuana industry that is dealing with the same problems as non-cannabis companies, would probably actually help it as a whole.
While cannabis companies can’t get enough workers and have supply chain issues just like everyone else, a second shutdown— and the massive bills that would come with relief payments — would only increase the pressure on the federal government to find new sources of tax revenue and jobs.