After cannabis businesses were deemed essential in nearly every state in which vertically integrated multistate operator Curaleaf operates, VP of Retail Chris Melillo felt a greater responsibility to create a safe environment for the company’s patients, customers and employees.
“Everybody’s going through a lot right now,” Melillo tells Cannabis Business Times. “None of us have a roadmap or a game plan of how to address this. We’re all leaning on courageous leadership and … experience from crisis management in the past, and really just trying to absorb that responsibility, calm your team and be there for your patients.”
Curaleaf operates 54 dispensaries across 17 U.S. states and has maintained strict compliance with each jurisdiction’s sanitation and social distancing requirements. The company has set new SOPs to adjust to these uncertain times, but Melillo says making a standard, one-size-fits-all policy across all its operations has been difficult.
“You’re really over-indexing and getting pretty granular state by state to make sure that the changes that you make apply to all,” he says.
The company’s internal SOPs are designed to exceed each state’s minimum requirements, Melillo says, and Curaleaf’s management teams have been instructed to ensure that the company’s cleaning standards are followed in each of its facilities.
Beyond that, the company has remained flexible so it can adapt to everchanging coronavirus-related guidance on a state-by-state basis.
For example, when Massachusetts deemed medical cannabis businesses as essential but halted adult-use sales, Curaleaf became unable to serve customers who may have been accessing cannabis for medical purposes in the adult-use market.
“We now have limited ability to serve that customer,” Melillo says. “That has been a really hard challenge in Massachusetts. They’ve closed some of our stores.”
Another challenging market has been Nevada, which has mandated that all cannabis dispensaries must be delivery-only during