Grow, Gift, Repair

Will dispensaries stay alive during these rough times?

Kala’i reported the store was receiving more than 500 visitors a day recently, meaning the store decided to turn away from a large uptick in business for the safety of its workers and the community.

“If there is a larger shutdown, prices will skyrocket,” said Nic Easley, CEO of Denver-based 3C Consulting. “There are implications when it comes to not just recreational but medical marijuana and patients who need medicine.”

Easley said runs have already begun at cannabis retail stores throughout the country, and he expects them to continue.

At Organic Alternatives, the recent crowds “were like 4/20” in the past few days, according to Kala’i, meaning much busier than normal.

“You’d think we were selling toilet paper here,” Kala’i said.

“With that amount of people, we felt it was in our best interest to protect our staff or anyone in our lobby.”

The closure came soon after Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced Sunday that all Colorado ski areas would close and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that gatherings of more than 50 people should be limited for the next eight weeks.

The Trump administration on Monday announced new guidelines to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, including avoiding groups of more than 10 people, according to The New York Times.

Kala’i pointed out that Organic Alternatives was seeing far more than 50 people come through its doors each day.

“We feel it is our responsibility to do what we can to help stop the spread of this virus,” Kala’i wrote in an email announcing the closure.

“The most socially responsible step is to shut our doors until our community has the ability to effectively test (for the virus.)”

Meanwhile, some local regulators are including dispensaries along with pharmacies in lists of essential businesses.

The Crested Butte (Colorado) Town Board, in an emergency session Sunday, considered closing all businesses to the public with the exception of grocery stores, gas stations, liquor stores/dispensaries, medical offices and hardware stores, according to the Colorado Sun.

While many businesses might choose to close without being forced to, companies that shutter early risk losing market share, according to Easley.

And recovering that market share can be difficult.

“Once someone leaves your store and finds another store, you’ve got a 50% chance of losing that client for life,” he said.