The Cannabis Community Care and Research Network has launched two research studies to examine the impacts the coronavirus pandemic has had on marijuana consumers as well as cannabis businesses.
The Worcester-based public benefit corporation, abbreviated C3RN, provides research and analytic services related to the impact of medical and adult-use recreational cannabis. The corporation is working with UMass Dartmouth to collect anonymous information about the impact of COVID-19 on medical cannabis patients and adult-use consumers in its first study, according to a news release.
In its second study, C3RN is collaborating with UMass Dartmouth and the Holyoke Community College and the Cannabis Education Center to collect information about the impact of COVID-19 on cannabis businesses and the workforce.
Marijuana businesses in Massachusetts have been severely impacted by the pandemic. Recreational businesses have been shuttered through at least May 18 following an order halting all non-essential business operations by Gov. Charlie Baker. Medical marijuana businesses are allowed to operate through the pandemic and state cannabis regulators have reported a spike in new medical patient registrations.
“There is a clear need to understand the impact of COVID-19, a devastating public health pandemic, on medical cannabis patients, consumers and businesses,” said Marion McNabb, the CEO of C3RN. “Additionally, under COVID-19, the cannabis industry cannot access much needed financial support from federal or state funds. The intention of the MA business and workforce study is to collect much-needed information to allow Massachusetts policymakers and stakeholders to make evidence-informed decisions about how to help a nascent and emerging industry in the Commonwealth.”
In its study about consumers, the researchers through anonymous surveys are asking if consumers use cannabis to treat any health conditions, how cannabis helps during daily life, if the consumers have any side effects from using cannabis, preferred methods of using cannabis, whether consumers purchase through regulated sources and more.
After asking about cannabis use, the survey asks consumers about how the pandemic has impacted their lives, like feeling nervous or losing income, if the consumer has had any symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, if the consumer has been able to access testing and if so, if they received those test results.
In the survey on cannabis businesses and the workforce, researchers ask what resources have been difficult to obtain through the pandemic, like financial assistance, and if adult-use was permitted during the pandemic, what changes to business operations the worker may anticipate.
The anonymous survey also asks if businesses had to lay off employees and if any hiring is anticipated in the next month.
The two research studies have been approved by the UMass Dartmouth Institutional Review board as an extension of the initial study, the news release said.
Data will be collected anonymously and will be shared with key stakeholders and for peer-reviewed publication, according to the news release.
C3RN said it encourages members of the public to participate and directed those interested to complete surveys online.