420 with CNW – Marijuana Industry in Colorado Helping Restaurant Employees

April 13, 2020 04:20:47

Up to now, the restaurant and cannabis industries have had an interesting relationship. When states started legalizing marijuana and the industry really started picking up, restaurants started feeling the strain. As Kevin Burke, General Manager of Denver-based restaurant Morin says, restaurants were already struggling with what was effectively negative fifteen percent unemployment. The growing popularity of cannabis-infused meals strained the already scarce human resource.

“Qualified cooks could walk across the street and get a fifty cents per hour raise, and when cannabis called, they were getting a two, three dollar per hour raise,” he says. He acknowledges that the industry isn’t always employee-centered, saying that the situation helped the restaurant sector to identify some shortcomings and make conditions better for employees.

“It forced restaurants to change for the better in my opinion,” says Burke. And now, as the world faces one of the greatest threats in recent times, the cannabis industry is helping restaurant workers once again.

The Coronavirus first appeared in Wuhan, China late last year and quickly spread to every continent except Antarctica. The virus has infected over 1.4 million individuals worldwide and left at least 87,000 dead. Most governments have taken drastic measures to curb the spread of the virus, and these measures have been anything but kind to the economy.

People are advised to self-isolate and all but the most essential businesses have been shut down for the time being. And while cannabis, fortunately, made the cut, restaurants have had to shut down. In fact, most states with legal marijuana have registered increased marijuana sales, and they have taken additional steps to make sure the industry runs as safely as possible. These include allowing curbside pickups and home deliveries.

Restaurants, on the other hand, have been hit hard, and the employees have suffered most. That’s where the cannabis sector comes in. Toby Ripsom, co-founder of Veritas Cannabis saw a way he could help the restaurant industry, one of the sectors that have been especially affected, and he took it.

“When we sat down as a company to update our HR policies in light of sick days piling up, we wanted to take care of our employees through it but also became attuned of an upcoming struggle to maintain capacity,” he says. His partner, Mike, reached out to a local restaurateur, Max MacKissock, who said he was being forced to lay off more and more employees. “Mike brought that to the rest of the ownership, and we filled a void.”

Additionally, the state has thrown its weight behind the whole thing, making it a lot easier and faster to certify new cannabis employees than it was before. “The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division made gaining a badge an expedited, online process. It was previously an in-person application and a tougher hurdle, logistically speaking. The state has been wonderful through this hardship!”

Analysts believe such stories coming out of Colorado give cannabis industry players like Champignon Brands Inc. (CSE: SHRM) (OTC: SHRMF) (FWB: 496) the impetus that they need to think of even more ways to help out during this difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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