While The Green Solution is increasing sanitary measures and practicing social distancing in its cultivation and dispensary facilities, CEO Steve Lopez says many of the Colorado-based company’s standard business practices are also helping to keep its employees and customers safe from the global coronavirus outbreak.
“One thing we’ve always been proud of, and we’ve actually taken a little bit of heat for, is that our stores are a little bit too sterile,” Lopez tells Cannabis Dispensary. “A lot of things we’ve done have served us well.”
Roughly two years ago, The Green Solution invested in new packaging equipment for its flower and edibles to eliminate as much human handling of the product as possible. The company traded its resealable jars for packaging with a protective film that seals the product with nitrogen to keep it fresh and sterile.
“Nobody touches that product until it actually gets to [the customers’] home, when they open it,” Lopez says. “It’s not like your typical bud jars that you see at a lot of dispensaries, where people can put their faces over it, grab it or pick it up with tongs.”
While The Green Solution has always worked to maintain sanitary cultivation and retail spaces, the team has stepped up cleaning measures at all facilities in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, and is practicing social distancing to keep space between the company’s staff and customers.
“We’ve always been very cleanly, but we’re doing more iterations of it,” Lopez says. “Instead of cleaning 2-3 times a day, now we’re cleaning 10-15 times a day.”
The company is also setting up new protocol on an ongoing basis to address any new information about the coronavirus or related policies that continue to emerge.
“We’re following all those guidelines about no handshaking, coughing into your elbow [and] handwashing,” Lopez says. “We brought in an extra pallet of bleach to make sure that all of our facilities can get bleached down when we need to, and we’re also using cleaning products that are known to kill the coronavirus.”
The Green Solution’s general managers and district managers have been instructed to monitor employees for signs of illness and to communicate that anyone who is sick should not come to work. The company has also created skeleton crews to work different shifts as part of its social distancing plan.
“Our foremost concern is always the safety of our team, our customers and our community,” Lopez says. “If we take care of the health of our folks, we’re making sure we’re not spreading it.”
Like other dispensaries, The Green Solution has seen a large uptick in sales, which Lopez attributes partly to the fact that many of the dispensary’s customers are being forced to stay home as bars, restaurants and workplaces continue to shut down.
“I think a lot of people, especially locals, realize the safety of our products and the way that it’s packaged,” Lopez says. “When they get it, it’s not been touched by human hands and it’s a sealed product for them. A lot of people use this for medicinal purposes, too, so there may be some of that.”
Although cannabis delivery is not allowed under Colorado law, The Green Solution is encouraging its customers to use the company’s express windows, which allow customers to order online and come to the dispensary to pay for and pick up their products. The Green Solution offers a 10% discount on these orders, a promotion that was in place pre-outbreak.
“You can go to reception, then we have the window there where people can pick up their products,” Lopez says. “[They] just pay for it and get in and get out quickly, so it lessens the exposure.”
As new developments emerge, The Green Solution is maintaining open lines of communication with its team during this uncertain time.
“We’re just playing it by ear, getting our guidance from the municipalities that we’re in, as well as the state government,” Lopez says. “Fortunately, we’ve got a pretty good line of communication right now with those folks, so we’re just continuing to stay up to date on everything, and then we communicate out to our employees what we’re doing. … We’re just playing it by ear but going by the compass of making sure our employees and our customers are safe.”