• Didier Miguel

Lockdown and your herb supply

Some Cannabis companies and dispensaries in selected states in the US have been deemed essential, does that mean I can stay open?

The imminent threat on businesses due to the #lockdown, will bring out the creative thinkers from the mundane and routine habit animals.

This is the time to be brave, don’t let this shit situation dictate the outcome of your hard work. Get the fuck up and fight back, declare strength in cannabis. Think of what needs to be done and how we can overcome the struggles we are facing as businesses. #weedunited as we all face this together.

New cannabis businesses are also at a stage where they need to consider their options carefully. How do they secure the businesses they have built, the amount of work it has taken to build their businesses? Many have left their previous jobs/industries to pursue something they see future value in. We have put together a base for a recession business marketing strategy survival kit for you to follow. We hope this helps your business strategy and focus over this trying period.

Remember, weed shops were never here before, we have a strong black-market supply chain. Possibly the strongest, most well organised within the Dagga circles of the world. Take a look at the alcohol prohibitions in the US between 1920 and 1933, bootleggers still mobilised to supply their customers.

As for the newly started Cannabis companies. This trying time is going to separate the weak from the strong, or I should state, the smart from the uninformed. There are a number of questions being raised.

Let’s break it down and see what this means for us.

Some Cannabis companies and dispensaries in selected states in the US have been deemed essential, does that mean I can stay open?

Well with the Lockdown announcement, we cannot in any sense stay open with reasonable arguments. Some may state they are an essential service for the public and we should stay open like in the US states. Nowhere else has cannabis been treated as essential, even though only open for a short period, it is an important moment for cannabis to be deemed essential in a crisis. Due to our recent decriminalization, cannabis is not legal to sell yet and CBD can still be bought from designated pharmacies so why would they allow a cannabis shop to stay open? Well the reason is because the US have legal dispensaries and we are still fighting that battle for full legalisation.

You may have seen some KZN “dispensaries that will stay open” Please remember, these guys have worked hard with local government and officials to become the pilot projects for dispensaries in SA. We are not all there yet. What will happen to my supply chain and business?

Supply chain will remain largely untouched, as the previous harvest season has happened and now stock will just be held until this is over. Your business will depend on your ability to keep your voice alive. After this period many will fade but those who are smart and savvy will last this trial. Check our recession business marketing strategy survival kit blog for tips on how to retain customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What about putting prices up now to make more money?

Are you only out to make a quick buck or are you looking to build a sustainable, trusted business? Yes, supply chain is broken and risk is higher considering flower is not legal and you may not be viewed as essential if you sell CBD. Risk has gone up, meaning some prices will go up, BUT if it is in your capacity to keep prices the same or even lower them to help your customers, will in-turn gain you loyal customers that will support you for years to come. Remember, these days and what happens herein, will stick with us for a generation at minimum. Meaning your loyalty to your customer will be valued for a long time to come. So, don’t be a dick, think about it as if you were the customer getting ripped off.

What about networking and impact of not meeting potential customers when I’m out?

Networking in an early emerging industry is important to a business, remember that 90% of SMME’s gain business deals not through what they business is but the trust of the individual handling the business. People often buy into people or a well-established brand, which again is largely about trust the brand has gained over time. If you cannot be out meeting people now, built your brands voice in the communities you are targeting. Don’t only try sell, sell, sell, with COVID-19 looming over us, it is wise to understand that not all are willing to part with hard earned money as priorities are pulled into focus. Rather share information, built a voice of interaction and valuable content that people can enjoy and learn from during their time in #Lockdownsa

Struggling to find a way to stay open?

Look for ways to get your products to your clients. Cannabis is medicine for many and caring for your customers needs will built trust and loyalty. Delivery to shopping malls on a schedule as part of your shopping trip. Arrange a mutually accessible collection point if shops are close by.

What about the buyer’s side?

Every evening after putting the kids to sleep, I step outside and admire the night sky. Taking time to roll my evening “help me sleep” joint, I think about the day’s affairs and what lies ahead, afterwards it’s time to grab the lighter and spark that J up. Take that first pull and the worries become a bit lighter, the anxiety and adrenalin of the day fades into the night sky. The only lasting effect is a peaceful night of sleep. For those who suffer from chronic conditions, it’s the relief from the cage of pain of their ailments, for others it helps with the day to day stresses.

This is a ritual enjoyed by countless South African’s, many of us are asking questions:

  • As to how do we get the medicine we need?

  • What happens to the dealers, private club’s and your friend who has supplied you for years?

  • Will I manage to cope with the anxiety this situation of lockdown presents?

How do I get my weed, medicine, relief?

For most buyers, there will be a supply chain problem that will be difficult to get around. There are many forms of supply currently, you could get from your local car guard, from your regular more upmarket supplier, a friend that grows or even from a social club you are part of. During the upcoming #shutdownsa by government, supply chains will be a bit more difficult to maintain. Perhaps speak to your supplier and find out what their plans are. I know some in JHB will be opting for local deliveries to maintain their customers needs.

What happens to my dealer?

The car guard supply from your earlier smoker years, may not be as accessible as before, with the army and police canvasing the streets of our cities, these regular dealers will not be available as freely as before. For those getting from your “Whatsapp guy”, things may be different. He/she may still be able to deliver, under the guise of a regular job or necessity trip. This is still a risk with the enforcement that is being implemented albeit doable. Your local social clubs may be delivering, as we have seen some of the KZN boys, state deliveries and dispensaries will remain open. The Bobby Greenhash Foundation have worked tirelessly with government to be the benchmark for Cannabis dispensaries in SA.

Being innovative and smart with how you reach your customers and how you go about marketing your plans are crucial.

Be strong in this time and remember, if you need advice or someone to help you through this business challenge, we are here.

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