How is the Coronavirus Impacting Cannabis Sales? You May Be Surprised

Cannabis sales surge as consumers stock up in preparation for social distancing amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Cannabis dispensaries and online stores are adapting in order to keep up utilizing curbside pickup and delivery services.

As businesses continue to close up shop in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the cannabis industry is feeling the impact. With social gathering spaces including restaurants, bars, libraries, and nightclubs no longer being an option, rates of cannabis purchases have surged.

According to a USA Today report and calculations from cannabis data and analytics firm Headset, marijuana sales in Washington state surged by 33 percent on Sunday compared to the week prior. That jump in sales isn’t only related to an increase in the number of shoppers. The number of customers buying more than $50 worth of cannabis products at a time jumped from 16 percent to 21 percent in a week.

In California, a state where cannabis delivery is legal, marijuana dispensaries are experiencing upticks in delivery orders. The cannabis company Glass House Group reported delivery in their Santa Barbara service area is up 50 percent from last week, and up 24 percent in their Los Angeles area.

Weedmaps, which connects marijuana consumers with dispensaries, told Cannabis Now that they had tracked a small jump in sales from March 13 to 15, but on Monday sales exploded 251 percent compared to an average day.

Tokr, a Los Angeles-based marijuana delivery service, reported sales up 287 percent since March 12.

That same trend seems to be taking place across the country. Not wanting to risk being stuck at home without their cannabis, consumers are buying up cannabis products to prepare for the isolation and cannabis businesses are evolving to stay in business.

“We know that many people rely on cannabis for many aspects of their lives and we are committed to continuing to provide safe access to those products through this crisis,” Tokr’s CEO and cofounder Matt Singer told Cannabis Now.

Cannabis Still Open for Business Amidst the Coronavirus

Cannabis stores have already started making adjustments to accommodate coronavirus-related safety precautions like extra cleaning regimens and social distancing.

In Colorado, online orders are being filled in big numbers. The Green Solution, a Colorado-based cannabis dispensary, is filling online orders and taking extra precautions. The company’s CEO Steve Lopez told Cannabis Dispensary that there has been a surge in sales.

Lopez attributed the increase in sales to the fact that many of the dispensary’s customers are being forced to practice social distancing in addition to the many workers who are being forced to stay home.

“I think a lot of people, especially locals, realize the safety of our products and the way that it’s packaged,” Lopez said. “When they get it, it’s not been touched by human hands and it’s a sealed product for them. A lot of people use this for medicinal purposes, too, so there may be some of that.”

Cannabis delivery is not yet legal in Colorado. The Green Solution is staying ahead of the game by encouraging its customers to use the company’s express windows, which allows customers to order online and then come to the dispensary to pay for and pick up cannabis products.

“You can go to reception, then we have the window there where people can pick up their products,” Lopez said. “[They] just pay for it and get in and get out quickly, so it lessens the exposure.”

In Washington, Higher Leaf dispensaries have implemented a mandatory pre-order system and are limiting the number of customers in the store at one time.

In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that all licensed cannabis retailers may set up delivery services, and curbside pickups, to adapt sales in reaction to the call for social distancing. Illinois is following suit with curbside pickups.

Prioritizing Medical Marijuana Patients

In many cannabis-friendly cities, like San Francisco, health officials have acknowledged the importance of medical marijuana. After initially telling local dispensaries they’d have to temporarily shut their doors in response to the order to close nonessential businesses, San Francisco’s Department of Health clarified that dispensaries could stay open to make sure that cannabis was still available, particularly for medical patients.

Massachusetts dispensaries are cutting back on adult-use marijuana orders to focus on medical marijuana patients. New England Treatment Access (NETA) has mandated that marijuana orders be reserved ahead of time. Chicago’s MOCA dispensary has discontinued adult-use marijuana sales to ensure there’s adequate inventory for medical patients.

Leafly has provided a way to check if your state’s cannabis dispensary is open. Find out, here.

More Cannabis News and Analysis

Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s online hemp CBD shop currently has no delays in CBD product fulfillment. While it’s doubled its sanitizing efforts, the online CBD shop is continuing to deliver its high-quality hemp-derived products.

Follow along as we release the latest cannabis news on the impacts of the COVID-19 on cannabis. Visit our cannabis news page for the latest articles on cannabis policy, business, and scientific research.