As coronavirus cases increase, many businesses are shuttering their doors. Fortunately, in the face of economic uncertainty, cannabis businesses are thriving. Globally, cannabis sales are soaring as customers fear limited access during potential COVID-19-related lockdowns. With so much uncertainty surrounding the supply chain, cannabis operators are struggling to keep up with demand.
Dutchie, an Oregon-based online dispensary, saw sales spike following President Trump’s national emergency declaration. In one weekend, the company had over 50,000 orders and $5 million in transactions. Per-customer sales went from an average of $92 to $115 (a 20% increase).
California cannabis delivery company, Eaze, also saw a jump in order volume. Deliveries to first-time customers increased by over 50% and order volume went up by 38%. Another cannabis delivery company, Nice Guys Delivery, saw 60 new orders per hour; by Wednesday, March 19, the company had to temporarily suspend new orders because of volume.
But online businesses aren’t the only ones getting their piece of the pie. Sales increases are happening at physical locations, too. Customers waited in line for as long as 3 hours in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Curaleaf’s dispensary in New Jersey had 100 people in line by 6 AM. As a result, Curaleaf has started implementing social distancing measures for those waiting in line. Pennsylvania and New Jersey are now considering curbside pickup and home delivery to prevent mass gatherings and lines.
On a national scale, the sale of medical marijuana spiked more than 20% nationwide after the emergency declaration. Adult-use also increased by 11.6%. Orders for edibles increased by 18%, while flower orders fell by 21%. This is likely due to consumer fears about COVID-19’s respiratory effects.
While these sales spikes have done wonders for dispensaries, it’s important to note that many states still prohibit delivery. For example, Helping Hands Herbal in Boulder, CO, had to temporarily close two physical locations because delivery is illegal in Colorado. However, curbside pickup is now allowed.
It remains to be seen whether this initial increase in sales will continue long-term as the US combats coronavirus. Some stores will likely be forced to close, especially if state governments prohibit curbside and delivery options. However, with more people at home, cannabis consumption will likely increase through the end of April. Time will tell how COVID-19 will affect the industry long-term, but for right now, dispensaries have a lot to gain.
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