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Coronavirus Prompts Jump In Cannabis Sales

March 17, 2020

With bars and restaurants closing across the country and more dire predictions coming from health experts like clockwork, the full extent of the consequences of the novel coronavirus are becoming clearer. While other sectors of the economy are bracing for severe financial hardship, the cannabis industry has not yet felt the pain.

Along with hand sanitizer and toilet paper, another commodity people in the U.S. and abroad are hoarding is cannabis. “At this point we’re seeing a marked increase in demand, likely as people want to stock up amid the uncertainty this issue is creating,” Green Thumb Industries noted in a statement to SND. Dispensaries have faced long lines as people prepare to deal with what could be an extended period of effective lockdown. Delivery services and dispensaries in California have reported robust demand, with consumers often opting to purchase a full ounce of flower—the legal limit.

Most states consider medical cannabis dispensaries equivalent to pharmacies, making them an essential service and not subject to the shutdown orders that have fallen on bars and restaurants. But even recreational retailers have escaped lockdown as well, most likely because they’re not seen as a social environment that poses the greatest risk of circulating the virus. For example, Amsterdam’s cannabis coffeehouses were briefly shut down because they feature on-site consumption. They have since been allowed to reopen on a grab-and-go basis.

Green Thumb Industries plans to keep its Rise retail locations open while working to prevent infection. “All of our 41 stores remain open, including the seven in Illinois,” the company noted. “Many of our customers and patients rely on us for life-changing medicine and their daily well-being, so we are doing everything possible to serve them while implementing safety precautions and following CDC guidelines.” Others, like Harvest Health & Recreation, outlined various steps they’re taking to keep both customers and staff safe and healthy during the outbreak. Production so far remains unaffected, companies say, with major growth operations continuing apace.—Danny Sullivan

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