By: Jenna Berkowitz
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, certain Massachusetts-registered cannabis dispensaries are doing their part to assist in the public health crisis. While these facilities are still producing cannabis products for medical marijuana patients, at least a dozen cannabis dispensary groups in MA have also utilized their resources to make hand sanitizer.
Sira Naturals, an MA marijuana dispensary group, is one of the cannabis facilities producing and donating hand-sanitizer to healthcare facilities throughout the state. Sira Natural’s hand sanitizers are picked up in bulk by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Department of Health coordinates the delivery.
“We have made the decision to allocate some of the Sira Extractions Team’s time and resources to producing hand sanitizer as it is desperately needed to assist in the fight against COVID-19,” Andrew Sharp, SIRA Naturals marketing manager, told CED Clinic.
While dispensary groups such as Sira Naturals are accustomed to exclusively producing cannabis goods, the equipment utilized in extracting their cannabis concentrates is also applicable to sanitizer production.
“Sira uses ethanol in our extraction process,” Sharp said, referring to the extraction of concentrates from the cannabis plant. The chemical ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, is the primary ingredient in certain hand sanitizers, such as Purell hand sanitizers. “We already have the equipment on hand to work with [ethanol],” Sharp added.
Sharp noted that Sira Naturals also already has the required permits that allow their facility to purchase ethanol in bulk. He said his dispensary group also owns the proper storage for ethanol “to ensure a high-quality product is produced safely.”
“Our goal is to make 50 gallons a week,” Sharp said. “It is difficult finding large amounts of raw materials to make hand sanitizer right now so we may be limited by [the] availability of stock” he added.
While Sira Naturals has the necessary equipment and permits to work with ethanol, they are currently experiencing problems with sourcing ethanol and isopropyl alcohol.
We “would appreciate it if anyone is able to donate these products or share the contact information of companies that may have these products still available for purchase,” Sharp said.
“[Producing and donating hand-sanitizer] was an easy decision to make, and the Sira Naturals Team is gratified to be able to aid the healthcare system by providing an essential resource,” Sharp added.
Sira Naturals can be reached at (866) 420-SIRA or siranaturals.org for donations.
About the author:Jenna Berkowitz
Jenna began interning for CED Clinic in January 2020. She is a senior at UMass Amherst's Commonwealth Honors College with a double major in Journalism and Communication. Using her experience from working at local network news stations like WCVB and WGBY, Jenna helps the CED team with creating quality content on our blog and YouTube channel! In her down time, Jenna enjoys playing the piano and has started to learn the ukulele.
She can be reached at [email protected]