COVID-19 has left no industry untouched. And looking back as 2020 has closed, the effects of on the hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) industry have been both direct and indirect. That said, the industry continues to march on, and many businesses are optimistic about the future.
Industrial Hemp Farmers
One of the biggest impacts the virus has had on the many farm operations out there is how work gets done. Front Range Biosciences, a group of farmers, researchers, and scientists that produces cannabis, coffee, and other desirable crops, has put emergency measures in place to combat the spread of COVID-19 while they continue operations. These measures include enhanced sanitary protocols, staggering shifts, and the strict use of masks.
Another effect the virus has had on cultivation efforts is limiting hemp cultivation equipment and supplies. Many of these necessary products come from China, which saw a closing of its ports in early 2020. This led to months-long delays in the shipping and receiving of these important agricultural products.
When COVID-19 began spreading around the world, many feared that product distribution routes would be negatively affected and supplies would be limited. These fears were indeed realized, and there was a slowing of CBD shipments and other hemp products around the world initially. Due to demand for products made of industrial hemp, there was a rather quick uptick in shipments after the initial drops earlier in the year, according to Sarah Roberts, CEO of CBD logistics company SovereignPort.
COVID-19 has negatively affected the buying power of millions of Americans, and this has led to a decrease in the purchase of retail hemp/CBD-derived products. However, many online businesses have enjoyed robust sales, as many consumers have taken to stockpiling hemp-derived CBD products.
Given the importance and desirability of hemp-derived products, many players in the industrial hemp farming sector remain optimistic they will not only weather the effects of the virus but also thrive as time goes on.
Image Credit: Erin Stone