The Commonwealth Dispensary Association (CDA), the largest and most active organization representing the cannabis business community in Massachusetts, in partnership with the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA), announced that its members have been authorized by the Baker Administration, Department of Public Health (DPH) and Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) to commence producing hand sanitizer to be donated free of charge to Massachusetts hospitals.
This member-driven initiative is being carried out to help maintain the supply of critical resources available during the COVID-19 pandemic following DPH Commissioner Monica Bharel’s public health emergency order.
The COVID-19 outbreak has created a shortage in the availability of medical supplies, including hand sanitizer, which has been further complicated by price gouging. The need for this critical resource has resulted in hospital pharmacists allocating their time and knowledge on its production, averting them from efforts to combat COVID-19 that can only be performed by professionals with their skillset. While the production of hand sanitizer is not overly sophisticated, the materials involved are expensive.
“Because we can only produce product for our medical operations, we were happy to use some of our capacity to join with other members of the Commonwealth Dispensary Association to manufacture and donate hand sanitizer,” said Kevin O’Reilly, Chief Operating Officer of Triple M, which has a cultivation facility in Plymouth and dispensaries in Plymouth and Mashpee. “There is a desperate need for hand sanitizer across the state, and as a locally owned company, we hope we can help fill this void by using our production facility to assist local health care providers.”
The cultivation facilities have the capabilities/knowledge to produce hand sanitizer because they are distilling for cannabis concentrates, according to the Commonwealth Dispensary Association. There is no cannabis in the hand sanitizer. The sanitizer is being produced in accordance with WHO guidelines and the protocol developed by MHA.
All participants are paying for the raw materials and lending their employees’ time to produce the hand sanitizer. It will be fully donated to hospitals, so these businesses are assuming all costs.
Massachusetts Hospital Association played a critical in identifying the need for these supplies and spearheaded a convening between CDA and directors of pharmacy from hospitals and health systems across the state to create protocols, standard operating procedures and to assist with production knowledge.
“The CDA would like to thank Governor Baker, DPH and the CCC for empowering the cannabis industry to directly support those on the front lines of this pandemic by producing critical supplies,” said CDA President David Torrisi. “When John Hillier, who’s on the CDA Board, brought the feasibility of producing hand sanitizer to our attention, members jumped at the opportunity to partner with MHA to make this happen. I am incredibly proud of members who are allocating time and resources to produce hand sanitizer, at cost, to help clinicians in the fight against COVID-19.”
The CDA estimates that, at full production, it can produce 5,000 gallons of hand sanitizer per week that can be fully donated to hospitals.
“The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association thanks the CDA for their generosity and support during this incredibly challenging time. Given the extreme stress that our health system is facing, seeing the business community step up to produce critical supplies to ease that burden reinforces the notion that we are all in this together,” said Steve Walsh, President & CEO, Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association.
Some of the Commonwealth Dispensary Association members participating in the production include: Revolutionary Clinics, INSA, Central Ave Compassionate Care, Inc., SIRA Naturals, New England Treatment Access, Theory Wellness, Garden Remedies, Triple M, Alternative Therapies Group, Inc., Berkshire Roots, Cultivate, NorthEast Alternatives, Patriot Care and Mass Wellspring.
Formed in 2015, the CDA is comprised of 36 members holding operating licenses in more than 60 cities and towns across the Commonwealth and serves to provide state-licensed marijuana operators with critical insight and best practices to help them navigate the complex, highly regulated Massachusetts cannabis industry. The organization also serves as the primary voice for the cannabis business community in front of the Cannabis Control Commission and at the State House.