Cannabis producers are doing their part by donating medical supplies

Published Apr 3, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
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As the world combats an invisible invader, healthcare systems all over the world are struggling to keep up, with supplies dwindling down to levels that no longer offer appropriate levels of protection for our doctors, nurses, and PSWs. Our front-line medical staff are putting their lives on the line as they come home to their families each day in fear of what they might be bringing home with them.

COVID-19 is a highly contagious illness that does not discriminate. It doesn’t appear to be seasonal, as regions with sky-high temperatures are often struggling worse than those of us who are just peeking our heads out of winter, and it’s spreading a rate that is incredibly difficult for the best healthcare systems to manage.

As patients flood hospitals with terrifying symptoms, calls for medical-grade equipment began to emerge, and some cannabis producers are stepping up to play a crucial role in the outcome that will impact us all, by donating thousands of pounds worth of expensive medical gear that our hospitals are seriously lacking. This inspiring decision deserves recognition, and it’s one that will hopefully persuade society, in general, to view them in a more positive light.

The biggest companies involved in the movement

Out of all of the cannabis businesses out there that are doing something to help, a few stand out among the rest, and here we would like to take a moment to thank and recognize those that have already stepped up to the plate by providing desperately needed medical supplies.

Canopy Growth
This cannabis company was one of the first to lead in this initiative by donating thousands of protective gloves, face masks, and Tyvek full bodysuits to hospitals with the greatest levels of need.

Hexo
Hexo Corporation was next in line, and though they didn’t have quite as much for extra medical supplies to offer, so far, they have donated a total of 150 N95 face masks that were given directly to paramedic services in Outaouais Quebec.

Organigram
This cannabis producer didn’t have a whole lot to offer due to massive losses that hit the company just before the pandemic broke out, but they were able to donate just over 500 liters of ethanol to assist a New Brunswick manufacturer in producing thousands of bottle of hand sanitizer.

WeedMD
These guys have yet to make a formal donation, but it’s on its way, as the spokesperson for the company has promised that they have a plan of action to free up medical supplies to donate. Right now, the company is changing to use alternative face masks, so that they can give up what they have in stock to hospitals and other medical workers in the Ontario region.

More to come

Aphria Inc, Village Farms International, CannTrust Holdings, and TerrAscend Corp are just a few of the cannabis businesses that are currently evaluating how many medical supplies they can afford to donate to the cause. So, while the amount given thus far isn’t enough to fill the gap, it looks like more help will be coming soon from within the cannabis industry.

Not everyone is in a position to help

Since cannabis is an essential service which means that producers everywhere must continue to function as normal, quite a few companies have publicly announced that they just don’t have the option to help. Aurora Cannabis Inc, Tilray Inc, and Organigram Holdings Inc are already operating with medical supplies currently at critical levels, so at least for now, they don’t have any extra to give to reduce the need in the healthcare system.

The critical medical supplies

Both in Canada and the United States, hospitals and other emergency workers are running on fumes, with reports of workers being forced to wear the same disposable equipment multiple times before throwing anything away. This is incredibly dangerous for our front-line staff, which is why agencies are requesting help with medical supplies like full-body suits, face masks, gloves, hospital gowns, and hand sanitizer.

Why do cannabis producers have extra medical supplies?

A lot of people are wondering why cannabis producers have medical supplies lying around to donate en mass, but it’s actually a necessity when you’re in the business of handling the plant, and it’ critical when you are responsible for growing high-quality cannabis. Producers must use these materials, not for protection, but to go in and out of any active grow room to avoid cross-contamination that could reduce the quality of a crop.

Since some companies order their medical supplies in bulk, there are quite a few that have enough to donate, while still safely maintaining their home base operations, which are still functioning at capacity to fill the increased demand for cannabis. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be in this position, but it is wonderful to see that those who can, are taking the responsibility seriously and giving as much as they can to help.

It’s still not quite enough to solve the problem

It is inspiring to see how much kindness is being shown by cannabis producers and others from within the industry, but unfortunately, it’s still not enough to ease the burden of our current healthcare system. Doctors and nurses are seeing hundreds of patients every single day without any ability to reduce the risk of contamination for themselves or the people that they serve.

The need is great and medical supplies aren’t coming in anywhere near fast enough to keep up as the number of COVID-19 patients climbs higher each day. As such we highly encourage all individuals and businesses to take the time to see if there is any way that they can help. Even if it’s just a handful of masks, or sewing together a few hospital gowns for workers, every little bit count. We must work together now more than ever, to see this thing through till the end with any chance for success.

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