We may never go back to “normal.” How does one define such a term, anyway? What is normal? In a post-quarantine world, we have to face facts that a new normal will take over and touch every aspect of our lives, from our job to our workout habits to our recreational activities. This begs the question of COVID-19’s long-lasting impact on the cannabis industry.
Focus On The Positive
After months of lockdown, we know you may be tired of reading coronavirus-headlines. There’s only so much negative news a person can take in each day. But today, we focus on the positives. COVID-19 may actually benefit the cannabis industry for years to come.
The Rise In Cannabis Sales
Not that the cannabis industry ever lacked sales, but COVID-19 broke records for dispensaries across the United States and Canada. “We had our largest sales day ever,” says Steven DeAngelo, the owner of a medical dispensary umbrella in California. “Sales are up 20-25% at all locations. We have one of two drive-through windows in the entire state of California, so it’s a very popular place to buy cannabis in the Coachella Valley right now.” As drive-through options eliminate face-to-face interactions during the outbreak, we see why so many people choose it.
Moving East into Michigan, “about $54.6 million in recreational marijuana sales were reported to the state in the nine weeks between March 9 and May 10,” according to The Detroit News, “with more than $7 million weekly total sales each week for the past four weeks.” In addition to the boost in sales, the number of retailers also increased. “In about two months, the number of licensed recreational marijuana retailers in Michigan has grown 70% from 61 on March 2 to 104 retailers on May 12.”
As we head to the South, the less cannabis-friendly part of the country, we see record-breaking sales in Arkansas, too. “Overall sales surpassed $50 million over the weekend, on 7,932 pounds of marijuana sold. That’s up to $4 million since the last report on March 4,” reports Fox 24. “There are now 20 dispensaries statewide, with 13 yet to open.” Not even we expected to see a cannabis boom in the South.”
The Cannabis Industry As An Essential Business
During the first phase of lockdowns, state governors decided whether to leave cannabis dispensaries open. If liquor stores fall under the essential business category, then why not dispensaries? At least medical ones. Granted, not every state followed the same guidelines. In California and Oregon, for example, all dispensaries remained open for medical and recreational use. But in Maine and Arizona, all recreational dispensaries shut down.
As we move into a “new normal,” we see skyrocketing numbers of people who turn to cannabis during anxious times. People who never thought twice about trying cannabis or CBD products suddenly need a sense of relief. It’s a drastic movement, to say the least. A positive one! When the need for cannabis increases, so does production. On the flip side, so does cost. A high-demand often leads to a high price point. So, we may see cannabis become more expensive in the years to come.
The Push For Cannabis Legalization
When we first started the 2020 Presidential campaign, we remained hopeful that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren would federally legalize cannabis in all 50 states. But as the results dwindled down to a Donald Trump re-election or Joe Biden, federal legalization fell off the table for the most part.
In a just world, however, you can’t let politics get in the way of public health. Whoever wins the 2020 election may have to re-evaluate the importance of cannabis in public health. What do the people want? What helps the people feel their best in trying times? So far, based on the record-breaking sales we mentioned earlier, people want cannabis. People want legal cannabis. This desire may force our next President to federally legalize cannabis whether it was part of their original plan or not.
The Cannabis Industry & The Economy
After this complete and total mess known as a pandemic, we sure hope so. Public health aside, governors can’t deny the economic benefits of legal cannabis. In our humble opinion, it would be foolish to deny the public legal cannabis for medical relief, and, it would be foolish to deny an economic boost. The cannabis industry has the power to bring in millions, if not billions, of dollars. It’s a win-win for everybody.
In this part of the blog, we want to hear from you! Surely, the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted at least one component of your life. Has cannabis helped you in any way? Do you see the cannabis industry changing, for better or worse? Things will never go back to normal until a vaccine comes widely available on the market. Until then, we should continue to practice safe and healthy measures.