Marijuana retailers across the U.S. have announced record sales as consumers gear up for long spells of isolation amid the coronavirus pandemic.
President Trump first declared a national emergency on March 13. Cannabis sales shot up 28% on that date compared to the previous Friday, according to BDS Analytics. It represented a 71% spike compared to the 75-day average.
Sales have continued to soar ever since. Data from Headset shows that sales in California shot up 158% year-on-year on Monday, March 16. That was the day that a shelter in place issue was first announced in the Bay Area. It has since turned into a statewide directive.
Another market insight provider, Flowhub, analyzed POS data in California, Colorado, Oregon and Alaska. It found that recreational cannabis sales grew 50% year-on-year in the week from March 16-22, across the four states. Medical marijuana sales were up 41% compared with the same period in 2019.
In Florida, medical marijuana sales in the week to March 19 were the highest since the program began in 2017. Patients snapped up 2,274 pounds during the week.
That is almost 40% higher than the previous week.
Dr. Michelle Weiner, a South Florida cannabis doctor, said sales have increased because people are stockpiling, but also in response to the added stress and anxiety the coronavirus pandemic has created.
“They are also more anxious about the unknown and are using cannabis to calm themselves while they homeschool their kids or learn how to cope with potential decreases in wages from hours lost at work,” she said.
On March 20, medical marijuana dispensaries in Arkansas saw their largest single day of sales since the program began 10 months ago. Patients purchased 92 pounds of cannabis for a total of $565,000.
The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration reported that dispensaries are now hoping to offer delivery services during the lockdown. That is a trend mirrored across the country, while curbside sales have been permitted for the first time in some states in an effort to improve social distancing measures.
In Canada, provinces have also reported a huge surge in sales. Nova Scotia said sales were 76% above average last week, while Ontario Cannabis Store told Reuters that last weekend’s orders were double what it would usually take in a weekend.
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