The COVID-19 pandemic has swept fear and uncertainty across the world in a matter of days. As the global death toll rises, fear of another recession is growing. Americans are living in indefinite isolation with limited access to resources. Needless to say, tensions are high.
Cannabis Is An Essential Service
Many state and local governments are declaring medical marijuana dispensaries essential services. A status like pharmacies. Advocacy groups and experts are fighting for dispensaries to remain open. Cannabis dispensaries across the country are reporting that business is booming.
As of last week, cannabis sales in California were up 159% compared to the year prior. California dispensary owner, Steve DeAngelo, said “It’s not about getting high, it’s about being well.”
With the uncertainty of coronavirus, many fear that consumers will turn to alternative sources for medicinal needs. Unlike other essential products, there’s still a very active underground market for cannabis. Unlicensed growers do not test, clean, or regulate cannabis products. This increased the risk could lead to spreading the virus further.
To reduce the risk of an unhealthy exchange, dispensaries are taking precautions. For example some are keeping their doors open. But with the pandemic some customers might need cannabis now more than ever.
Like toilet paper and other groceries, cannabis products are being purchased in large quantities. The uncertainty of when customers will be able to shop again is fueling larger purchases.
California wasn’t the only state reporting abnormal spikes in sales volume. Dispensaries in Oregon, Alaska, Colorado, and Washington have all reported abnormal spending. ABC News reports that some have seen purchases of more than $50 increasing from 16% to 21%.
Since the spike in sales last week, retail cannabis operators are continuing to keep a close eye on shifts in purchasing behavior.
Are We Headed For Another Recession?
So what does this mean for the cannabis industry if the country endures another recession? Experts believe the cannabis industry will continue to thrive. Like alcohol during the Great Recession.
Products deemed ‘essential’, including pharmaceutical medicines, toilet paper, groceries, alcohol, and even marijuana are “relatively recession-proof,” said former Sacramento cannabis regulator Joe Devlin. “It’s a relaxation vehicle and reward that consumers give themselves.”
Because marijuana has fallen into the same category as spirits and tobacco, it’s not likely to be cut out of anyone’s budget. It’s expected that consumers will continue to budget for cannabis, even when they scale back payment of other mainstream products.
What You Need To Know
If you’re needing to stock up on medicinal marijuana, call your local dispensary today to ensure they’re open. Customers are being encouraged to place orders over the phone and wait in their car upon arrival. Dispensaries are pushing to deliver to your car to maintain the safest method possible for both parties in the exchange.
TruSteel’s employees are all operating from their homes, continuing to work with our clients and partners in the industry. Our mission is to ensure the safe and healthy use of equipment and installation while protecting our employees and customers. We’ll continue to update our community with news and insights as necessary during this time. Stay safe!