How Oklahoma Dispensaries Are Handling COVID-19
Updated: Jun 15, 2020
We recently covered how dispensaries in Los Angeles and Denver are adjusting to the Coronavirus crisis. This week we dive into the newly legalized state of Oklahoma. How are dispensaries in this young medical market dealing with the challenges of social distancing and communicating with patients?
For this article, we interviewed six owners and managers from top dispensaries across Oklahoma. These thoughtful individuals are discovering new things every day as they battle the current crisis, and they were kind enough to share their insights with Leafbuyer.
Jazimine Ayres from Green Country Bud
How has COVID-19 affected Green Country Bud at a high level?
Green Country Bud has not reduced operating hours; our goal is to keep as much routine in place for our clients as possible. As a team, our roles and responsibilities have evolved in order to cater to the health and well-being of everyone involved. Our Front Desk Receptionist has now begun to handle and process our call-in and online orders for those who do not wish to enter the dispensary. We have implemented tactics such as continual handwashing, the use of gloves and masks when interacting with clientele, as well as practicing social distancing guidelines and reducing contact between our clientele and foreign objects.
Have you noticed any changes in patients' purchase patterns?
We have noticed that our clientele is buying in bulk. Stocking up has been a priority for many as they are being observant of the new regulations and restrictions.
Our CBD sales have significantly increased, due to high stress and anxiety at this time. Our offerings are vast from flower to edibles, even to topicals and transdermal and fully systemic options. Our clientele seems to be more receptive to alternatives and learning whereas before they had been content with their choices.
How do you stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 regulations?
We frequently visit cityoftulsa.org and omma.gov; these websites have information and guidelines providing directly from The City of Tulsa and Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Association. It is the source of our essential business rules and regulations both during COVID-19 and on a regular basis.
What message you are communicating to patients right now?
Our dispensary is designed to cater to our guests' needs. If you have a weakened immune system, we are designed to cater to you. If you have questions and are seeking alternatives outside of what you are used to, we are designed to cater to you. Our range of products is carefully selected to target ANY need; their quality and consistency are well renowned among the community. In times like these, people need something they can depend on. Our company, staff, and product selection are designed to create a sense of comfort and ease for ANYONE at ANY TIME. Green Country Bud is here to help lighten the stress and tension this pandemic is having on individuals and families.
Allison Griffith from Fire Leaf
What adjustments have you made due to COVID-19?
We have not adjusted our hours or reduced staff. We offer curbside delivery as well as private dispensary appointments at our Stockyards City location.
Are patients purchasing different products than usual?
Flower is king no matter the circumstance! People are certainly more interested in non-smokable products due to smokers having a more difficult time recovering from COVID-19.
How have your marketing messages changed in recent weeks?
We have had to shift our focus from highlighting products to communicating more operational announcements so patients know exactly what we are doing to keep them safe when they are in our dispensaries.
Rachel Richbieter from Mango Cannabis
How has COVID-19 affected business from new or existing patients?
We have definitely seen a rise in new patients! We love seeing new faces, and we assume considering people are at home a majority of the time they find the time to get their recommendations via online doctors because of this wave of anxiety and stress.
How has the current crisis affected your marketing strategies?
On social media platforms, we aim to answer as many questions and concerns as proactive and timely as possible. We try to go the extra mile and make sure the customer gets the feedback they asked for in the most professional way possible since we are unable to chat with them in person all the time. We have definitely seen a rise in social media interactions which is honestly very exciting to connect with customers that way.
We have sadly had to cancel events like 4/20 but we made it up with killer deals! We are staying positive and hoping to make next year even better with a big blow out of the fun when the pandemic is over. We want to consider the safety of everyone so we preach cleanliness! At mango we cater to our guests in a positive manner, so we emphasize sanitary precautions like widening your smoke circle by practicing social distancing, no more puff-puff pass, and more individual joint which makes packs of pre-rolls better to share than a single.
What message are you trying to communicate to your audiences?
We have trained our staff to take extra precautions to ensure cleanliness and organization. We wear gloves and masks and sanitize any surfaces that could be considered a germ hot spot like menus, jars, and stations.
We hope people understand we are working for them and trying to cater to them in every way we have the ability to. We want a safe environment for every patient to the stoner kid with anxiety to the cancer patient so we highly encourage feedback from our amazing team and guest.
Greg Jensen from Urbn Roots
Have you been using online ordering tools during the Coronavirus crisis?
Yes, we are definitely pushing the drive-thru and online ordering. We were using online ordering prior, but it has increased greatly. We have added a drive-thru too which has been a big help. We actually expanded our hours now, opening 1 hour earlier from 11 am to 10 am. How has the Coronavirus affected daily life at Urbn Roots?
Since COVID-19 we have seen an increase in sales. Our employees are wearing masks and are wiping surfaces several times a day, and we are not allowing patients to touch or smell flower.
We are taking COVID-19 very seriously and have implemented several precautions and distancing guidelines to protect our employees and our patients. We had plans to add a drive-thru in the future but decided to move that up and completed it first of April, this has been a big help in keeping everyone safe.
Ryan from Whole Leaf
How has the crisis affected your social media or texting strategies?
We have had a robust social media presence (FB and IG) since we opened. We have fielded some questions on both platforms, but for the most part - by being proactive in addressing issues related to the pandemic - we have been able to successfully communicate with our patients on both platforms. In terms of texting, we tend to only send informative messages on changes in policies, hours, etc. We will expand on the use of Marketing and Promotions once the pandemic has passed.
Overall, how has COVID-19 affected business at Whole Leaf?
Our staff responsibilities remain the same - we have reduced hours daily by 2 hours for a total of 12 hours less per week. We have restructured the layout of our dispensary to better facilitate social distancing for both patients and staff.
We have had online ordering since we opened in November of 2018. With OMMA clarification - we have added curbside pickup as an option for online and phone orders. We have had great positive feedback on the curbside option.
Kyle Hensley from Main Street Meds
How has COVID-19 affected your interactions with patients?
Our entire operation has shifted to Drive-Thru only. This means every interaction is through the small window instead of across our sales counter. It's definitely different and we're doing our best to work within that limitation and still have a great experience.
We closed the lobby to keep the flower and products protected so that patients can feel good about their pickup orders. We have a sink right by the window so we can wash our hands constantly. And we do!
How has the pandemic affected customer purchasing patterns?
Patients just aren't able to see all the new products or smell the fresh flower lineup, so they are playing it safe with smaller flower orders if it's a new strain for them. We are seeing many patients come back and order the same strains in a larger amount after trying just a gram. We're also selling more gummies and fewer other edibles.
These Oklahoma dispensaries are successfully operating despite the COVID-19 crisis. We appreciate their time and advice, so every cannabis business can benefit from their knowledge and experience.
If you have a unique perspective on the pandemic's effect on the cannabis industry, please contact us today!