While we’re out here panic-buying toilet paper, Californians are getting their hands on all the cannabis they can.
Probably not the best solution for anyone experiencing anxiety surrounding the virus outbreak, but to be fair, these are weird, weird times.
As more people spend time locked in their own homes, cannabis sales have soared in California alongside fears that recreational dispensaries might shut.
Weedmaps is an American tech company which allows users to source local cannabis products – dubbed the Yelp of the marijuana business. The platform has recently reported a rise in deliveries, as well as a doubling of pickup orders, coinciding with the coronavirus pandemic.
Sales are currently 50% greater than your average 4/20, which is normally the biggest day of the year for weed sales. This marks the strongest sales period since the week of marijuana legalisation in January 2018 and the highest number of orders in the company’s 12 years of operation.
In California alone, sales on Thursday were up by 204% as compared to the previous week. Interestingly, consumers are more drawn to edibles than smokeable products. Weedmaps posits that the 21% fall in flower orders is most likely due to respiratory fears surrounding the virus.
Confusing advice issued by the American government means cannabis distribution chains in California are required to navigate a jumble of local rules. The order didn’t explicitly address whether cannabis businesses were part of the 16 critical industries permitted to stay open.
New York, Nevada, and San Francisco declared medical marijuana dispensaries to be essential businesses and have allowed them to stay open. However, recreational dispensaries may not receive the same outcome.
Delivery services and curbside pickups will continue to rise in popularity if people have fewer options to buy instore. It’s also expected that they’ll turn to illegal markets in the case of a complete shutdown of the recreational cannabis industry.
“If we shut down legal cannabis businesses in this state, people are still going to buy cannabis,” said Bobby Vecchio of LA-based delivery service HERB. “We can’t really believe that that fixes the problem and that makes people safer.”
I wonder what the future holds for the next panic-buying saga?