Crazy Cat Lady Cannabis will be interviewing Central MA (and some outside) cannabis business owners to get an idea about how COVID is impacting their ventures and how we can ensure a strong industry moving forward. If you would like to interview in the next few weeks, please email email@example.com.
Ulysses Youngblood earned an MBA and brings his corporate sales leadership experience to Major Bloom, an impact-driven marijuana lifestyle brand.
1). How is COVID affecting your business?
The shutdown has had an impact, which forces more creativity and restructuring the way we all think as a society. I'm facilitating a cannabis regulations class at Clarks Graduate Program for the Summer, and the current events and how various states are handling essential business is fascinating. Additionally, I look forward to the delivery regulations rolling out in May.
Recently, we submitted our special permit to the City of Worcester through electronic submission. Typically when you apply for a permit, physical copies are provided, which we also mailed in. For years, I worked in the solar industry, and applying for permits was also a physical submission process where runners would deliver hard copies to town/city halls.
The CCCs application is all online, as it should being a newer agency, but we can see that municipalities are behind. More specifically, with Major Bloom, we are in the provisional license phase, where the CCC reaches out to each city we have a host agreement with to ensure we've upheld our agreement so far. Even this process could become digitized and connected through an information system, but if the CCC doesn't hear back from the cities within 60-days, we progress and move forward. After the provisional license, we are to prepare construction documents for both local and state approval, so that work is next!
2). Do you think there are anyways the cannabis industry could have been better prepared for this pandemic?
I think the legacy (traditional or unregulated) markets have always been prepared for something like this because they are built on innovative distribution methods which include transportation and delivery to end-users.
Last week I had a meeting with a great company that develops delivery and transportation software and they were saying that most regulators and businesses in the legal market did not consider delivery as a core part of marijuana commerce. You look at a state like CO who has been rec for many years, and they haven’t even rolled out their delivery regulations yet, which they will in 2021, I believe.
It’s great to see marijuana being considered essential, it certainly helps with the stigma. All in all, what comes to mind for better preparation is simply having more shops open and delivery licenses available.
3). What kind of help would be most beneficial to your business right now from state and local leaders?
The CCC, as a new state agency, has done a great job of having applications online. Local cities and towns need to catch up to that process. I’m not talking just marijuana permits, I mean all applications and permits. I have a friend who works in construction on the West Coast - we spoke yesterday and he was saying how he came across the first municipality which accepts construction documents and drawings all online. There will certainly be less room for error with an online system and I believe the review process for all stakeholders would be a lot easier as well.
4). What changes need to be made in the cannabis industry moving forward after this setback?
I actually think the coronavirus, as scary and as real as it is and I certainly pray for those impacted, but I think this experience is a victory for cannabis. It is a victory because the stigma is changing in front of our eyes. Food, Beverage, and Marijuana are essential as they should be.
Of course, I’d love to see more businesses, like Major Bloom, in place to serve the needs of people who use marijuana but ultimately, as a society, we have to get better. And this virus is putting everyone in a position to get better.
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To submit interview ideas, please email Jen@crazycatladycannabis.com.