Covid-19 represents a watershed moment in human history. For the cannabis industry, no level of the supply chain has been left unaffected by the dramatic changes inflicted by mandatory lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders. While there’s every hope that these stringent measures will lift in the not-too-distant future, those in the industry must presently rise to meet these unique challenges. As the global medical cannabis market responds to these unprecedented times, the guarantee of resilient and resourceful suppliers has never been so important.
A recent Forbes article highlighted that although the cannabis industry may prove to be recession-resistant, the supply chain has been rendered vulnerable by restrictive effects on the movement of people and goods. The Clever Leaves’ response follows the safety measures recommended by both international and local authorities in Colombian, Portugal and Germany. In addition to these measures, we’re committed to fostering resilience by promoting flexibility and adopting robust practices to minimize the effects of Covid-19 disruptions.
Here’s how we’re responding to Covid-19.
Clever Leaves Meets the Challenge
Amid the uncertainty that is occurring globally, Clever Leaves has taken swift and decisive actions to not only adjust to the challenges posed by the crisis but to provide support and assurance to its clients and employees.
We view our clients as our partners in this industry and ensuring that our supply of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis continues to flow to our partners is our top priority and plain common sense. Strong partnerships contribute to better business for all.
Our commitment to our partners starts with making the necessary changes to keep operations ticking within the current climate. For Julián Wilches, the Chief Regulatory Officer at Clever Leaves, this means closely adhering to the measures recommended by the authorities in every country in which the company operates. In addition to the global prerequisites of maintaining social distancing and hand-washing hygiene, we’ve also:
- Enabled all employees who can work from home to do so;
- Canceled any visits or travel to our cultivation facilities for non-essential staff;
- Reduced the concentration of workers in places at the cultivation facilities by staggering lunch hours and preventing gatherings of people;
- Mandated the use of face masks;
- Banned employees from bringing food prepared at home to work–employees are now provided with all lunch and snacks;
- Provided transportation to the cultivation facility for workers.
At the Clever Leaves extraction facility in Tocancipá, Cundinamarca, measures have been taken to minimize and regulate the number of people working indoors at any one time. “Employees have been divided into working groups that go to the laboratory only on the specific dates and times they are needed,” explains Wilches.
From our perspective, these measures are a win-win. They enable us to protect the health of our workers and facilities while also guaranteeing that our cannabis plants continue to be carefully tended, harvested, and extracted to create the superior range of pharmaceutical-grade products for which we are renowned. Most critically, these adjustments show our flexibility and ability to respond to the situation as it unfolds and keep supply flowing in a steady stream to our partners.
Expanding Supply Chains During a Global Crisis? No Sweat
But it’s vital to point out that we’re not just getting by and coping. Clever Leaves is continuing to actively grow and expand our commercial efforts, forging bonds with new leading global partners. For example, we’ve recently entered into a regional supply agreement with Canopy LATAM, the Latin American subsidiary of Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC). Under the agreement, Clever Leaves will be supplying Canopy LATAM with extracted products from its GMP-certified, licensed cannabis processing system and cultivation sites in Colombia. Clever Leaves has delivered the first of these products to Canopy Growth under the terms of the one-year agreement, which includes an option to renew for two additional years.
“This agreement also validates Colombia as a key source for the future of the cannabinoid supply chain, an important milestone for both Canopy Growth and Clever Leaves,” says Kyle Detwiler, CEO of Clever Leaves. “Clever Leaves is well-positioned to supply companies such as Canopy Growth, enhancing their returns on capital invested and enabling greater focus on downstream commercial activities.”
For managing director of Canopy LATAM, Antonio Droghetti, Clever Leaves was an obvious choice as a supply partner.
“Clever Leaves has proven its capabilities in Colombia and through this supply agreement, Canopy LATAM is furthering the implementation of its asset-light model and accelerating time to market with regionally produced GMP-certified medical cannabis products,” said Droghetti.
According to a report in Marijuana Business Daily, “Clever Leaves’ deal with Canopy could provide a template for other marijuana firms which aim to expand their businesses in Latin America but lack the necessary facilities or resources to carry out their own cultivation or extraction.”
The Bottom Line
As Clever Leaves consolidates its position as a leading global producer of ecologically sustainable, pharma-grade cannabis and hemp extracts, our maintenance of that position depends on our ability to continue delivering high-quality products to our partners in order to consistently meet their expectations. We also believe that we’re only as good as the communities in the industry that we serve and supply. When it comes to weathering this crisis, our motto is together, we’re stronger.
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