Hurricane Ian has left structural damage and destruction in its wake, with more than 100 cannabis businesses in Florida being forced to close. Data from the National Hurricane Center and the Florida Office of Medical Marijuana Use show that over one-half of the medical cannabis stores in the state of Florida are located in the direct path of the potential storm surges and excessive rainfall.
Some of the medical cannabis retailers operating in the state have been providing updates on closures via social media as well as through their websites. This includes Liberty Health Sciences, which closed 39 of its 51 dispensaries but has since reopened its stores located in West Palm Beach, Stuart, Port St. Lucia and Dania Beach. The enterprise is a unit of Ayr Wellness, which is based in Miami.
Trulieve Cannabis, the biggest dispensary operator in the state, also closed 55 of its 120 stores. In addition to this, MÜV also shut down about 30 of its 59 stores last week.
Ayr Wellness VP of retail, Sevi Borrelli, stated in a recent interview that the company’s current priority was to ensure that all their employees were accounted for and safe. This sentiment is shared by state operators, who were also focused on ensuring employee safety. Borrelli added that the company’s regional managers had been checking in with their associates, applauding the team in Florida, which did a great job in preparing for the storm and navigating it safely. He noted that the key focus was still to provide patients with access to their medicine, revealing that they were currently working on a reopening strategy.
Verano Holdings, which owns MÜV, has also prioritized the safety and health of its workforce in the state. In its statement, the company encouraged patients to visit its blog, which would offer real-time hurricane and dispensary updates as management continued to monitor the storm.
It is expected that Hurricane Ian’s toll will be unmatched, given that by last Thursday, more than 2.5 million business and residential electric customers were without power. This represents almost one-quarter of the energy customers in the state. Additionally, massive power outages were recorded in Sarasota, Collier and Lee Counties.
Cannabis business operators in other regions are also preparing for the storm. For instance, Brandon Johnson, CEO and founder of TRP, revealed that TRP’s primary concern was employee safety. Other companies, such as Weedgets, have gone the extra mile, ensuring that their employees were safe and that their inventory was moved to elevated locations to avoid any damage. It is in such situations that the usefulness of vertical growing equipment from companies such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) may have limited possible damage to commercial indoor cultivation operations.
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