Driscoll Green: How COVID-19 has impacted the marijuana industry

COVID-19 has significantly impacted every sector of business, especially the marijuana industry. The market for cannabis has noticed unique trends compared to other consumer businesses during this time. Marijuana sales increased in the beginning of the pandemic when people were fearful that dispensaries would be forced to shut down.

People who were prescribed medical marijuana stocked up on their prescriptions for their medical needs. Similarly, recreational consumers panicked and bought products to fill their time during quarantine. In Denver, sales increased by 392 percent when the stay-at-home order was issued. In June, Colorado made history in the industry by selling more than $150 million worth of cannabis products.

Now that the marijuana industry is deemed essential, there has been an increase in online orders and curbside pick-ups. When customers purchase in person, they are likely to buy more so they can limit how often they are going to the dispensary.

COVID-19 has also shifted customer buying patterns. Consumers are more likely to purchase marijuana products during the week and in the middle of the day to avoid a crowded setting. The marijuana industry used to get the majority of their customers at night and on the weekends.

There has also been an increase in flower and edible sales. In contrast, pre-rolled joint sales have plummeted. The overall pandemic anxiety and increase in alone time has boosted the sales of more time-consuming weed products. Before the pandemic, people were more likely to purchase pre-made products to fit into their busy and hectic lifestyle.

Colorado and Nevada have struggled more recreationally than California, Oregon and Washington. These two states had a dramatic decrease due to the lack of tourism. The other states noticed a dramatic increase due to the high percentage of local residents purchasing marijuana locally. On the other hand, medical marijuana sales have increased nationwide, such as in Oklahoma, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maryland and Ohio.

The pandemic has also halted the legalization of marijuana in many states, like New York, where officials and lawmakers are focusing on the public health crisis and economy instead. The states to follow shortly after are New Jersey, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, Vermont and more.

Marijuana has quickly moved from being illegal to an essential business in the past few months. In the future, this may lead to the legalization of marijuana in many states, as most legalized states experienced a dramatic increase in sales of cannabis products. Now more than ever, the marijuana industry has room for opportunity, growth and change within our nation.

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