My name is Rob Hendrix and I own two (2) cannabis-related businesses. I own a legal retail cannabis shop in Washington State (Cannabis Central), and I have created Cannabis Consulting Nationwide, CCN.

CCN was founded to help those who are contemplating getting into legal cannabis retail and/or for those who are already in it to some degree and need assistance with some aspect of starting, opening or operating a legal retail cannabis store. And I can write hundreds of pages to that end, but today I would like to discuss our time during the era of COVID-19.

Thankfully, my business here in Washington State has not been curtailed and in fact has remained designated as an “essential” business. Now to be truthful, I am slightly uncomfortable being considered an “essential” enterprise because I know all business owners, large and especially small, consider their own businesses to be extremely essential. To that effect, so do their employees.

In fact, small business is the lifeblood of our national economy, quite literally the engine that drives our economic success. Today, I would like to take a few moments to talk about small businesses that have been shuttered during this pandemic, and how you can help them.

Many of you may have read my previous articles or short stories and if so, you know how I feel about being a good neighbor. Usually being a good neighbor to yours truly meant being respectful of others’ opinions insofar as my being part of a still controversial and misunderstood industry. Well, today, its a different story.

As a business owner of a business which has been allowed to remain open and serving customers and in the process, keep all of my invaluable employees on the payroll, I consider myself to be incredibly fortunate. As such, I have been attempting to share my good fortune. I would like you all to do the same if it is possible for you to do so.

Keep an eye out for opportunities to help those businesses which have been forced to change and adapt to a great degree and have been forced to practically reinvent themselves. Many restaurants, diners, bars and taverns have had to completely rewrite their own business models given the many ways their business has been been restricted. Purchase and then give gift certificates to your own employees to be used at local businesses of your choosing.

In addition, check in on your elderly neighbors to see about securing needed staples and important items around the house. Many of these people have been nervous about going into public for fear of coming down with the virus. The elderly are prime targets for COVID-19 and need to be protected at all costs.

Check in with local churches, their donations are way down as a result of actual gatherings being disallowed and consequently the coffers are running low. Local charitable organizations do some really great work in local communities and deserve a helping hand so they can, in turn, help others.

Pay attention to the folks who are still working; those obviously in the medical field but also those good people who are working the checkout line at your local grocery store. Tell them “thank you” for what they’re doing. They are quite possibly putting themselves at risk to help their communities to have food and items that are necessary to us all. If you are forced to go to a doctor’s office, or ER, please be respectful and be patient. In many of our larger cities and towns, the medical establishment is working very hard and are perhaps struggling to keep up with needed services.

There are many good and decent people in our society, of course there a few bad apples out there among us as well. But regardless, take pride in always doing the right thing by helping your fellow citizen and looking for areas where you can lend a helping hand.

You’ll feel better, your neighbors on the receiving end of this kindness will feel better and pretty soon we will all be better. Before you know it, this bump in the road will be a memory and in the process of working through it, we can all be better, stronger for it.

As for me, I will continue to count my blessings and look out for my neighbor’s well being. Next time around it may be me who needs help.

Make this a super day, your best effort yet. Try to be a bit better today than you were yesterday and a bit better tomorrow than you were today.

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