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How The Covid-19 Pandemic Has Affected Legal Cannabis Sales in California

by wecann on May 9, 2020
How The Covid-19 Pandemic Has Affected Legal Cannabis Sales in California
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After being deemed an essential business in California, the cannabis industry continues to run operations through the stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Newsom last March. 

This is the first time that the regulated cannabis market has experienced an economic crisis, not only in California but in all other states as well. There’s still much to see about how this will affect the marijuana industry financially, but for now, it has proven its ability to endure tough economic conditions. 

According to data from Headset, California’s adult-use cannabis sales have soared in February and March compared to sales from the same month last year with a 74% and 53% increase respectively.

April, marking the first full month of cannabis sales during the pandemic, saw a smaller change in sales from 2019, but still saw a positive increase compared to last year.  

Despite dealing with a plethora of issues like high taxes, an illicit market, and a shortage of retailers, the California legal cannabis market has demonstrated an ability to prevail during difficult times. 

How Are Cannabis Companies Surviving The Covid-19 Pandemic? 

Like most industries, cannabis retailers have had to switch gears while facing this crisis in order to preserve the safety of employees and customers and figure out creative ways to maintain marijuana sales. 

Some ways cannabis retailers have coped with the coronavirus pandemic is by offering new ways for customers to receive their products such as offering curbside pick-up, deliveries, and limiting the number of customers allowed in the store at the same time. 

A lot of cannabis retailers have adopted curbside pick-up for the first time.

If a licensed storefront retailers who wishes to offer curbside pick-up has to submit a request for disaster relief and obtain approval from the Bureau of Cannabis Control and from their local jurisdiction as well. 

Here’s how it works:

  • A customer places an order online or over the phone. 
  • An employee fulfills the order and sends the customer a notification via text or email when their order is ready. 
  • The customer shows up to the store and parks in a designated spot. 
  • An employee then comes out to the car to verify ID, take payment and provide the customer their products. 

The customer never has to leave their car or enter their store. Cannabis retailers have also had to adopt safety measures provided by the CDC. 

Although it’s too early to tell if the cannabis industry will be recession-proof, we can look at the past for some useful insight.

During the Great Depression and also the more recent Great Recession, alcohol sales climbed with very little interruption. It’s possible that we’ll see a similar development in the cannabis industry. 

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