What does "essential" mean to the Cannabis Industry?
Updated: Mar 30
I wanted to give a quick overview of what the current medical and recreational markets are looking like throughout the US.
Coronavirus / COVID-19 Changing the Cannabis Game
Over the past week, more than a dozen states have agreed that while “nonessential” businesses had to close, recreational and medical marijuana businesses should remain open. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created a unforeseen demand on cannabis, similar to other items openly sold in the US markets such as toilet paper, canned goods and dried goods, Cannabis has been hoarded and stockpiled in the event that this pandemic moves into months, instead of just weeks, for hunkering down at home.
“marijuana sales soared more than 150 percent over the same period a year earlier”, said Liz Connors, director of analytics at Headset, a cannabis market research company. Showing that markets think of Cannabis like any other consumer good, similar to beer and wine.
On March 23rd (Monday) Mayor Hancock of Denver Colorado included liquor stores and recreational marijuana shops amongst “nonessential” businesses which included an order to close on Tuesday the 24th (for three weeks) - this prompted long lines to form outside some stores. Medical marijuana dispensaries were deemed essential (exempt from the city’s decry). After noticing the need/demand, the city of Denver reversed the ban within hours. We have been seeing similar ex parte orders across the United States be rescinded, strengthening the legal cannabis markets, as well as cannabis businesses.
Pennsylvania has allowed marijuana dispensaries to continue operating, though liquor stores were ordered closed. Over the last week, marijuana sales have soared in many states, including California, Colorado, Washington, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. In many states, cannabis businesses are carefully adhering to the standards defined by the federal government to ensure they are deemed essential and can remain open. Nevada has allowed recreational dispensaries to operate as long as they prevent crowds from forming, so the stores have urged customers to order online or over the phone. Illinois halted recreational weed sales but authorized medical marijuana patients to pick up orders curbside or in parking lots.
Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts announced that all “non-essential” businesses must close on Tuesday the 24th allowing for medical cannabis dispensaries to remain open (not recreational cannabis).
Out of Necessity...
Apps are being created in Maryland, New Jersey and Nevada, that allows customers to wait in their cars for their turn to purchase regulated cannabis products, rather than stand in line outside the store. The cannabis industry is quickly allocating funds to pivot and change to the adversity the country is currently facing, realizing opportunities exist that were not previously allowed. Cannabis companies seem to be more adaptive and creative, perhaps this is due in part to the high cost of entry they are used to for cannabis, which allows for them to see clearly threw the high investment requirements needed to ensure stability in their sectors.
Perhaps though, the government simply realizes that in order to ensure "social distancing" one must keep it's citizens complacent and on their couches. Marijuana is a great contributor to latency, and stagnate personification.