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Eight industry trends from sustainable cultivator Autumn Brands

Cannabis in the wake of COVID-19

In many ways, 2020 is the year of cannabis, and 50% woman-owned Autumn Brands is at the forefront of a rising ethical and sustainable growth movement. Backed by decades of hard-won sustainable farming expertise, Autumn Brands stands out as a sixth-generation, multi-family-run operation with a meticulous cultivation approach that ensures a high quality, pesticide-free product from start to finish. Now, in the midst of COVID-19 and a drastically shifting business landscape as Cannabis has been deemed ‘Essential’ across multiple states and local municipalities, the holistically-focused brand dives into eight major industry trends to watch. 

Diminishing stigma
Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Washington have all formally announced Cannabis businesses are ‘Essential’ during this pandemic. People are developing new habits and behaviors that will permanently shape how they do things moving forward. They are rethinking their jobs, their families health and wellness regimes, and how they get through a crisis. Cannabis is at the forefront of that conversation and behavior shift. As shared knowledge about cannabis grows - along with its customer base - the general public is warming up to this once-feared and misunderstood plant. Consumers who once balked at the idea of smoking marijuana, associating it with all sorts of negative connotations, are better grasping its benefits. Meanwhile, celebrity personalities like Top Chef’s Joe Sasto are introducing inventive, community-focused ways of safely introducing marijuana to various segments of the population. 

The most important bills to get passed right now are those that involve the health and wellness of humanity and provide stimulus to the economy.  Cannabis is an Essential business and therefore should be able to operate in the safest and healthiest manner. Now is the time for the legislature to pass the Safe Banking Act in order to provide commercial lending and eliminate the need for cash transactions.  Most Cannabis businesses and consumers are still required to pay in cash, which can carry unsuspecting germs posing a health risk to patients, consumers and operators. This also forces consumers to go to an ATM/Bank to get cash prior to making a trip to the dispensary. The federal government has a responsibility to make Cannabis legal and overturn Tax Code 280E. The IRS needs all the tax dollars they can get in order to stimulate the economy and while 280E brings in an excess of taxes hindering a small amount of businesses, it could bring in greater tax revenue as a whole if more cannabis businesses were able to operate throughout the United States.  

Pay it forward
During this pandemic, Essential Businesses have the opportunity to continue operating under strict new operating procedures.  So its important that the employees and non-essential businesses are taken care of. Autumn Brands is part of a group of local Cannabis Farmers called CARP Growers that is doing just that. The different farms are rotating purchasing lunches twice per week for all their employees from the local restaurants ensuring these community businesses can also keep the lights on, while taking care of the hard-working employees at the same time. They are also part of a fund called that provides meals to the food bank and other community members in need.  

We will likely see new research into unknown cannabinoid effects and how, together with terpenes, this plant can help so many more people. Right now, we only have an understanding of a few of more than 100 cannabinoids. Although 33 states legalized marijuana in some form, the amount of beneficial knowledge available is minimal at best, due to its federally illegal status. However, we are already starting to see more Congressional Bills and research labs taking time to dive deeper into understanding Cannabis and its benefits.  

Social injustice
As education around cannabis grows during this pandemic and more states legalize, the demand will increase to free those incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses. More states will likely implement programs allowing for their release and record clearing, particularly as more opportunities develop to make an honest living in the cannabis industry. 

Cannabis topicals
We will see a large increase in topical product development and sales this year. Athletes, baby boomers, and general consumers are starting to understand and appreciate the benefits of topicals (such as lotions and balms) made with THC. These products can significantly reduce inflammation, provide pain relief, and heal skin ailments without producing a high.

Sustainable and ethical grow techniques
2020 is the year of health. Consumers want to know where products are sourced, and sustainable growing practices are ranking high on their list of criteria for choosing what goes into their bodies. Cannabis absorbs everything in its environment, making it essential to ensure a clean, pesticide-free approach, and ethical growers like Autumn Brands are leading the industry in this regard. 

Virtual technology
As more states legalize the use of marijuana in some form, technology will likely play a large role in dispensaries’ interaction with consumers. Apps like Weedmaps, Kushy, and Budly are popping up in major cities to seamlessly connect consumers with product. Online ordering for curbside pick-up is also becoming increasingly popular, particularly in the wake of COVID-19 and social distancing measures. 

For more information:
Autumn Brands

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