Cole Miller has spent most of his days since 2017 excited about the launch of the Basecamp cannabidiol iced tea he was crafting, but as he visited Ontario cannabis retailers to encourage them to up the number of cases they would stock for its early March debut, he started to get worried.

They wouldn’t budge on their orders because they figured they might have to close stores or reduce hours amid an outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

“That was the first time from word on the street I thought this might actually affect our business,” said Miller, the founder of A1 Cannabis Co.

“We were so focused on delivering beverages to consumers that never tried cannabis before that we needed everything to be right for those consumers to get in the door?. But then with COVID-19 they were like, `maybe I might not go into the store right away and try out that cannabis beverage.”’

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The threat to his business, which is due to bring its beverages to B.C. and Alberta next month, makes him part of a growing group of cannabis companies, organizations and entrepreneurs, who suspect the virus will make a predicted tough year for the industry even worse.

2:01Questions surrounding liquor stores staying open

Questions surrounding liquor stores staying open

In the past six months,