Many economic industries have taken massive hits during the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost no business is ‘pandemic-proof.’ But many of those in the cannabis industry remain optimistic and look forward to the future. According to entrepreneur Sean Smutny, the COVID-19 pandemic has solidified the cannabis industry as a long-term part of the United States economy.
Smutny has been in the cannabis industry for fifteen years. Today, he is the co-founder and owner of Truth Enterprises in California. Smutny’s insights into the cannabis industry come from being involved in all parts of the process. Truth Enterprises has licenses in cultivation, distribution, and manufacturing. First, he earned a business degree from California State University Sacramento. Then he bought land before he was even granted a license for farming and cultivation. According to Smutny, entering the cannabis industry at that time was a roll of the dice. Starting a business in an industry that had been illegal for so long was exhilarating but risky. No one knew for sure how long it would legally last.
But the risk paid off. Smutny says that the COVID-19 pandemic has solidified cannabis’s place in the United States economy. The cannabis industry has a wholesale and retail side. Many wholesale orders have been affected by the pandemic. However, Smutny says that many retailers are still going strong. This is especially true in states where sales are high amongst residents, not tourists, like Oregon and Washington. Many states are still reporting strong economic growth, even higher than in 2019. According to Smutny, it is significant that cannabis dispensaries have been considered ‘essential businesses.’ It sends a very clear message: the legal cannabis industry is here to stay.
However, Smutny believes a long-term mindset is crucial from now on. Continuing to adapt dispensaries for service during a pandemic will help ensure their survival. Smutny says that online ordering and curbside pick-up are significant steps forward in the industry.
The future of most economic industries is still unknown. But according to Smutny, the pandemic has proven that cannabis is here to stay.