Cannabis Sales Increase Amid COVID-19 Outbreak
Some cannabis retailers and provisioning centers are seeing an increase in sales as the coronavirus (COVID-19) causes temporary shutdowns in cities across the U.S. The long term impacts on the cannabis industry are yet to be determined as retailers try to choose between ramping up sanitation and/or limiting in-store sales by moving to delivery, online or drive-through sales.
Sales, in general, seem to be increasing as consumers adjust to new operational procedures at dispensaries. On March 16, daily sales in California spiked 159% over same-day sales in 2019, according to point-of-sale data provided by Seattle-based Headset. Marijuana Business Daily has reported significant spikes in sales in Colorado and Washington state.
Headset reports a sales increase in edibles, which the product category growing from 11% of the market to 14% of the market — a 27% increase in market share in only 4 weeks.
State governments around the U.S. have deemed cannabis dispensaries and provisioning centers as “essential business” as other businesses are ordered to temporarily shut down.
On March 16, San Francisco announced a “shelter in place” policy, in effect until April 7, requiring all nonessential businesses to close. City officials told cannabis dispensaries to shut down when the policy was initially announced but later in the day the San Francisco Department of Health said that they could remain open, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Cannabis is an essential medicine for many San Francisco residents. Dispensaries can continue to operate as essential businesses during this time, while practicing social distancing and other public health recommendations.
— SFDPH (@SF_DPH) March 17, 2020
Illinois issued guidance for dispensaries, allowing them to keep doors open and sell medical cannabis on a public walkway or curb adjacent to the dispensary.
As originally reported by Leafly, some dispensaries, like MOCA Dispensary in Chicago, that serve medical and recreational users have switched to being open to medical users only to ensure the needs of those patients are met.
“For the health and safety of our staff and patients, we are limiting services to online order pickup for medical patients and caregivers until further notice. To limit wait time, we are unable to offer in-person consultations or any recreational sales at this time,” a notice on the MOCA Dispensary website reads.
Leafly is continuously updating a page dedicated to the status of cannabis dispensaries around the country.