Recently, we chatted with Jouke Piepenbrink, the Chief Marketing Officer at Dutch Passion (www.dutch-passion.com and www.seedstockers.com), to get his take on the impact of the Coronavirus on the Cannabis Industry.
What is your biggest challenge these days?
Getting all our orders shipped in time while keeping the people working in the warehouses at minimum levels.
How is Cannabis Industry impacted during the lockdown?
Dispensaries are declared essential in the USA. For example, Coffeeshops were closed for 24 hours in Holland. When policymakers saw the effects, they decided quickly that the Coffee Shops are vital and need to stay open; shops could re-open after less than 24 hours. This gives a lot of confidence to the cannabis market and gives us a responsibility; we are a part of normal society and have to act professionally and responsibly.
Should they be an essential service?
Yes, many people depend on cannabis for medical reasons. However, regarding sole recreational users, as long as other recreational products such as coffee, tea, and alcohol remain available, I think it would make sense to treat cannabis the same.
How do we support medical clients?
We provide seeds, not a product for direct use; most of our customers are growers and don’t directly depend on our seeds. However, we know that a fairly large share of our home-growing customers and professional growers grow for medical use. The chain must keep operating to prevent shortages in the future. We keep big stocks and see no problems in our part of the chain.
What has inspired you in the last week?
The fact that people remain calm, supportive, and creative. We even continue to do business with our Italian partners, who manage to keep their business running while Italy is in full lockdown. Big respect for them.
Will this have a lasting impact on cannabis events?
Too early to really tell, but sharing joints will be less common over the next few years, I suppose.
What advice do you have for cannabis businesses?
Stay calm; there might be struggles in your operation, but fix the big issues and focus on what does go well. Take care of your employees and colleagues. Remember, businesses are people.
What is the first thing you want to do when this is over?
Travel back to my dear Barcelona, see our team over there, go out for dinner with them.
Months from now, what will we have learned from all this?
The biggest insights will probably come after reflecting on the situation. I already realize right now that we shouldn’t take our freedoms as people and as companies for granted. We’ve been shown that the world can change overnight, and it is very little we can do about it.