Medical marijuana businesses in Oklahoma have been left in a lurch after finding out they don’t have access to disaster relief funds to help cushion them from the Coronavirus’ economic fallout. And as more regions go into lockdowns to curb the spread of the disease, they have started feeling the pinch of reduced demand and sales.
Dubbed COVID-19, the virus first appeared in Wuhan, China late last year. A few months later, more than 400,000 have been infected and at least 20,000 have been left dead in its wake. It is a pandemic like we’ve never seen before, and experts say up to 70% of the world’s population may end up infected by the virus.
To prevent its spread, countries all over the world have started going into lockdowns, shutting down all but the most essential businesses and instructing residents to stay indoors and leave for only the most pressing reasons. While this will ultimately curb the spread of the Coronavirus, it has had adverse effects on the economy.
To help keep businesses from going under, the government has prepared a disaster relief fund, and through the federal Small Business Administration (SBA), it will disperse these monies to eligible businesses. Sadly, marijuana businesses don’t fall within this category.
John Koumbis, for instance, runs JKJ Processing, a company dedicated to making medical marijuana edibles, and he feels like his business and his patients’ quality of life are hanging in the balance. “Senior citizens, military, people with PTSD, high anxiety, how are we going to take their medicine to them?”
This is especially worrying as Oklahoma doesn’t allow the delivery of marijuana within its borders. “I’ve made 11 calls to the OMMA and the legislature, and I’m not getting any response,” he says, adding that if the state goes into lockdown, his business and others like it aren’t going to get anything.
Daniel Carnes, owner of Mary Jane dispensary in Moore is also worried as he has received little guidance from the authorities. However, like all other businesses, they have to comply with the Coronavirus related measures set forth by the state, and this will undoubtedly have a negative effect.
“At this time, I have not received any type of a memo or notification, other than much like other businesses to follow the protocols set forth by the governor,” he says.
To the governor, he says, “You’re leaving 270,000, more than quarter-million people in your state unattended to, and without any type of answers and no idea of what the future may hold.”
Experts say that the message about the 270,000 patients whose wellbeing hangs in the balance in Oklahoma is exactly similar to what other cannabis industry players, such as Green Growth Brands Inc. (CSE: GGB) (OTCQB: GGBXF), are all concerned about wherever they have clients.
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