Marijuana dispensary businesses have restricted themselves to takeout or home delivery like most restaurant owners amidst Coronavirus scare. This has made black market dealers jump into action. With the pandemic spreading globally across countries, millions of Americans have been asked to stay at home.
With people all over the world trying to stock groceries, prescription drugs, and urgent medical care, people in America have been stocking marijuana too. Over the past few weeks, many states have agreed to close nonessential stops such as pot shops.
A few states have offered approval to marijuana dispensaries for functioning. In some states, pot shops are open and have been categorized as “essential”.
“Americans are racing to stock up supplies such as hand sanitizers, canned goods, and toilet paper. In states where cannabis is legal, people are trying to hoard cannabis products that can last for a few weeks or months.”
After San Francisco Bay Area residents were issued a stay-at-home order the previous week, marijuana sales have soared by 150 percent over the same time the previous year. The Director of Analytics at Headset, Liz Connors states that the purchase of CBD gummies and candies has surged to a level that is noted only during April 20, the marijuana appreciation holiday.
Young people and mainly women have accounted for sales. This hints that a lot of people take cannabis just like any other good like wine or beer. Edible products are most popular as customers are relying on these to avoid infection. “It is the easiest way to get high without having to touch your face much”, Connors said.
The Mayor of Denver has declared recreational marijuana shops and liquor shops to be nonessential businesses. He has ordered all these businesses to be closed down for the next coming three weeks. This has compelled people to form long lines in front of these stores. However, medical marijuana dispensaries have been exempted from closing down.
Pennsylvania has closed down liquor stores and is allowing marijuana dispensaries to function. New York has declared liquor store to be an essential business. An emergency order has been issued in Alabama and curbside sales of alcoholic beverages have been allowed at licensed stores.
Marijuana sales have significantly soared in several states including Pennsylvania, Colorado, California, and Washington. A Plymouth dispensary, Ilera Healthcare recently experienced its biggest sales week ever.
In several states, cannabis companies are being careful to abide by federal government norms. Regulators in Nevada are allowing dispensaries and recreational stores from operating as long as they can prevent crowds from forming. Hence, these stores have urged the customers to place an order over the phone.
Illinois has stopped the sale of weed but has approved medical marijuana patients from opting for curbside pickups. Pot shops, as well as dispensaries, are mindful of rules on social distancing. However, they are attracting anxious customers and are adapting to the massive demand.
Curaleaf runs 53 dispensaries in 17 states. It has set aside the first hour of its operations for customers who are aged 60 and above. They have also developed an app that is available in Nevada, New Jersey, and Maryland. This lets customers wait in cars for their turn rather than forming lines outside the store.
Charlie Baker, the Governor of Massachusetts has announced shut down of nonessential businesses. He allowed dispensaries to remain open but shut down pot shops.
Jackie Subeck, a consultant in Los Angeles shared that she planned to restock her supply amidst concerns that California would enforce the same regulation. She said that she was worried that the cannabis supply chain would be affected just likes gloves and masks.
“I want to make sure to have enough to maintain my daily lifestyle. For me, it’s more important to have enough cannabis around than alcohol”, she further added.
Black-market pot dealers have also been doing brisk business during this period of crisis. They feel little need to abide by the laws. A dealer in New York said that the sales picked up two weeks ago all of a sudden.
This is because the residents are growing more anxious about social distancing restrictions. He said he was getting calls constantly from customers for more weed. Many of the customers have confided in buying marijuana for relieving their anxiety during this period.