NewTropic CEO Alex Rowland featured in WeedWeek article, discussing aspects of operating in the COVID-19 world.
Change is now for the cannabis industry, as COVID-19 has slowed expansion plans, rearranged supply chain priorities, added financing hurdles, and created labor challenges as workers opt to stay home. The ability of employees to continue working (cannabis has been deemed “essential” in most states) has been lauded as a move in the right direction for the industry as a whole. That, however, does not diminish the exposure to risks during product pickups where a delivery driver might go from farm-to-farm, or overcoming a supply shortage of gloves and masks when handling or processing product. Supply chain disruptions from Chinese suppliers have also led to some packaging shortages in manufacturing, in some cases hampering plant capacity.
All of these topics and insights from industry leaders like NewTropic CEO Alex Rowland are fully illustrated in WeedWeek’s article, Holding Steady, Industry Braces for Worst. The article highlights some important issues facing the industry during these unprecedented times. From the article:
NewTropic, a contract manufacturer of concentrate, distillate, flower, and other products in Santa Rosa, Calif., was hit a bit harder by the supply disruption, and is now recovering just as the virus wreaks havoc in the U.S. “We’re about 60 percent of the way back,” in terms of packaging supplies, said NewTropic CEO Alex Rowland.
Securing packaging from China remains slow, he said, because there are still cost issues and delays in getting estimates and processing orders. At the moment, “We’re specifically focused on maintaining the safety of our personnel,” he said. That involves social distancing and the provision of safety equipment, as well as giving employees the option to stay home.
NewTropic has plans to open new facilities in Santa Rosa in the coming months to branch into making edibles and beverages. So far they’re on schedule. “We’ll see what happens,” Rowland said. “If demand stays elevated,” those projects will go ahead.
The cannabis industry as a whole faces some of the same problems as other businesses-depending on where they are on the supply chain. Cannabis, however, thus far has been unable to receive the same federal stimulus money as other industries and states and countries that were anticipating legalization (i.e. New York and Mexico) have postponed until further notice.