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Cannabis Sales Spike As Quarantines Linger Longer

Denver

As bars and restaurants close due to the spread of COVID-19, the cannabis industry has seen an uptick in sales.

That’s according to The Green Solution CEO Steve Lopez. He said that as people hunker down at home, The Green Solution’s 21 storefronts across Colorado have had people come in to stock up on both medical and recreational products.

Cannabis

“We have seen a definite increase in sales since the rise of the coronavirus over the past week or so,” Lopez said.

Many of its customers rely on cannabis as medication, or for “that glass of wine” at the end of the day to alleviate stress, he said.

“We are seeing people buy in bulk to decrease the amount of visits they are making to dispensaries,” Lopez added. 

Other areas with legal marijuana have also witnessed an increase in sales, including Washington and California. California Ikanik Farms Senior Vice President Joe Devlin also said that he’s observed a spike in sales. 

“This spike is likely short term,” said Devlin, who worked for Ikanik on some of the nation's first licensing frameworks for dispensaries. “However, as the shelter in place continues, we could see a bump in sales for the quarantine period as people use cannabis to help with the stress and anxiety of remaining at home.”

If stores are forced to close, overall sales would be impacted, and some consumers could turn to the illicit market, Devlin said, because of fewer retail locations or economic hardships due to lost income. 

Effective Wednesday, March 18, marijuana businesses will remain operational for things like delivery, but offices will be closed until April 18, per Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division. 

Lopez said it’s too soon to tell what major impacts the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the cannabis industry. But, he said that based on alcohol sales sustaining through economic downturns, the same could happen with cannabis. 

Extra precautions are also being taken in the interest of public health. The Green Solution is encouraging its customers to use online ordering and express checkout systems, Lopez said, and the production staff at cultivation facilities are wearing protective gear and gloves. Other precautions include amping up cleanings and disinfecting all of its locations. 

“We don’t have bins that we are scooping into for customers, nor do we have containers for people to smell product that is then sold,” he said, adding that because The Green Solution is encouraging customers to order online, it is offering a 10% discount with online orders. “From cultivation to customer, we have implemented procedures to take great care with our cannabis.”

Devlin said that in the weeks ahead, there could possibly be a shortage in packaging. Additionally, because this pandemic will likely send the United States into a recession, city and states may look to cannabis as a potential economic driver. 

“Look for cities and states to accelerate their legalization and regulatory efforts,” he said of the next few months.