COVID-19 Impact on Cannabis Sales and Traffic for Dispensaries

The resiliency of the cannabis industry has been on full display ever since the first shutdowns began during the COVID-19 pandemic. While workforces across the country were laid off, given reduced salaries, and told to work from home, dispensaries shined bright as an essential business that customers cannot live without. Generally speaking, marijuana sales have remained solid during the coronavirus, with the exception of drops in sales linked to tourism.

Both recreational and medical marijuana markets have not seemed phased by the shift in the country’s day-to-day whereabouts. In fact, recent research has actually pointed to a surge in medical cannabis sales during the coronavirus. There are a variety of ways in which the pandemic has impacted cannabis sales, some positive and some less than so.

Below we highlight some of the most notable insights gained over the last few months in dealing with cannabis sales amidst COVID-19:

  • Demand for online orders has exploded, as more and more people are choosing to order ahead  to social distance as much as possible
  • While foot traffic may have slowed, quantity per order has skyrocketed as customers are stocking up when they go to buy their cannabis
  • Increases in online orders has naturally led to larger individual orders, a common occurrence with online shopping
  • Weekend spending has dropped, as customers shy away from crowds and heavily populated places
  • Weekday sales are up, as customers attempt to take advantage of emptier stores and shorter lines
  • Customers have been experimenting with making purchases at different times of day to avoid crowds
  • Pre-rolled joints have seen a drop in sales
  • Edibles and flowers have become hotter items

California, Colorado, Oregon, Illinois, Washington, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Nevada are just some of the states with flourishing recreational and medical marijuana sales. As dispensaries continue to adapt to changes in preferences and buyer patterns, it is important to remain at the forefront of pandemic safety measures and precautions.

While many of the changes linked to COVID-19 have benefitted cannabis dispensaries across the country, there have certainly been some negative fallout. For instance, the pandemic has put pot legalization on the backburner for a number of states. Prior the outbreak of the coronavirus, hopes were high for the 2020 year in relation to marijuana legalization, as a number of states were pushing to get the matter on the ballots.

Nevertheless, getting the signatures needed to get these important issues on the ballot has proven difficult, if not impossible. The reality is that people do not want to touch paper or pen from another person, making it quite challenging for cannabis reform to come at the pace many were hoping. States like New York and Missouri had been optimistic that the cannabis initiative would finally get some legs this year. Unfortunately, however, focus has shifted almost exclusively to dealing with the pandemic, thus leaving little to no time for marijuana reform.

While the coronavirus is seemingly taking up all of the time and energy of politicians, advocates are hopeful that, while a delay may be inevitable, the pandemic may ultimately be a positive for marijuana reform in the long run. Being able to tax cannabis businesses make a great case for states struggling with finances in light of the strains linked to COVID-19.

At any rate, dispensaries in Colorado are thriving, as locals continue to buy, whether online or in-store. At Green RiNo, our online ordering system has proven successful throughout the pandemic. We are open now for pickup, check out the menu!