How The Pandemic Made Growing Cannabis an Urgent Healthcare Mission
With the horror show that was 2020 now in the rearview, in 2021 it’s bitter-sweet to still see half of my friends and family having lost their careers in the restaurant and entertainment world, while the cannabis industry I've been garden-growing in for seven years become an essential structure of society overnight. It’s a mind boggling circumstance to have landed in. I can’t think of any other industry that went from illegal to essential that fast in American history.
Sticky Fingerz, where I literally do God’s work growing cannabis, was put to an unfathomable task. And to be given the label of an absolutely necessary facet of society, carried a brutally heavy responsibility to the community as a local small business cannabis grower.
Cannabis has always been a medicine and a therapeutic tool, and the levity of being cast as an essential member of our community set fire to the work ethic in the garden. But dramatic uncertainty swept over the entire industry. We witnessed in real time the shutdown destroying hundreds of local restaurants, bars, gyms and Mom and Pop shops we have all grown to love in Denver and Colorado as a whole. Hell, we still don't know how many businesses are gone forever.
We sure as hell didn't know if we were going to survive or even have to close the dispensary and garden and lose all our dreams and jobs. There were about 10 days in March after the shutdown order was put in place where it was a ghost town in the dispensary. Several of our employees had to be quarantined from coming in contact with others who had transmitted Covid. Everyone was scared of each other. Afraid to come too close. Afraid to touch the wrong surface. Afraid to breathe the same air. All these new frightening feelings in the dispensary and garden were so unfamiliar.
Everyone, including myself, was a mental mess. But Sticky Fingerz dispensary manager, Joe Carasco somehow, someway kept everyone's heads high, kept the train moving and built a strict safety-plan and a compassionate business model on how to succeed during a time of unprecedented crisis.
One of the things that Joe and I realized during this crisis is that Sticky Fingerz is one of the few dispensaries in Denver that grows its own cannabis in-house and on-site. Where most dispensaries get their products delivered in sealed packages, our dispensary in person, every single day get to personally see the plants grow. They get to touch and smell that Week 8 flower stank, and really become a part of the absolutely gorgeous cannabis they sell in the store.
It becomes a real personal connection when you know the cannabis the locals love and connect with, is grown right there at the store. And we think that’s not only unique at Sticky, but it’s also become essential to our employees. Not being able to go outside as much anymore and see nature has been crushing to our communities who love to be out with the majestically green world. So, it's a big deal to us that the dispensary employees get the daily walk through the peace and serenity that is the Sticky garden.
Obtaining our inner peace is one thing. Keeping the dispensary clean, sanitary and safe wasn't easy but really was only half the battle. As a cannabis grower, I was left with big questions that required compassionate answers.
What does it mean to be a mental health provider in the middle of an unprecedented government shutdown?
What does it mean to be a cannabis grower during a Covid pandemic, where the federal government has the arrogant audacity to flippantly toss the American worker chicken scratch in the amount of 600 dollars and call it stimulus relief?
To me, that slap in the face of Americans by our state representatives meant that I have a local responsibility to take care of my own in the most empathetic ways possible. My own Coloradans. My own city of Denver. And Sticky Fingerz’ own local Denver neighborhood.
Sticky Fingerz is located in the historic Cole neighborhood in northwest Denver where 80 percent of the residential population is minority. Knowing that minorities have higher rates of Covid related medical conditions and tragedies that make them more vulnerable to death and severe infection, as a local business in this very specific area, we had to take Covid as seriously as a medical facility. From the jump we made it priority to make sure every resident of Cole felt comfortable to enter our dispensary safely and responsibly.
With so many people stuck at home for so long, cannabis is one of the only truly safe and non-addictive outlets of release, therapeutic reflection and escape from the everyday fear this virus and shutdown has inflicted on us all. The shutdowns caused unemployment that hit Cole harder than other neighborhoods.
So, to be able to offer affordable relief with absolutely gorgeous cannabis that was locally grown became a calling cry. We really began honing in on strains our neighborhood customers enjoyed the most and it became an urgent priority in the Sticky garden.
Unsurprisingly, it has been our Indica strains that have been the most popular during the pandemic. From our award winning Grapefruit Diesel to our Afghani Kush to our extremely rare strain, Lost Coast Hash Plant, Indica dominant strains which typically induce an increased state of mental relaxation have been the go-to strains for our local customer base.
Who would have thought the worst economic and medical crisis in modern times combined with mass political unrest, would create a craving to be in a blissful state of peacefulness and relaxation?
And no strain creates a state of tranquility quite like Ice Cream Cake, which easily became our number one seller and it was obvious why. The Indica dominant cross between Gelato 33 and Wedding Cake leaves you with an elevated sense of sedation that really hits a whole other way in 2021 when seeking to escape the mundane news cycle and trauma of the pandemic.
So, if you're looking for a compassionate and safe dispensary to depend on in the middle of the most uncertain times we've ever lived in, I’m Bobby Cuomo and I live my life to provide the most stunningly tasteful cannabis you can find in the Denver area. Come check us out.