While many businesses have been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s at least one business type that has been surprisingly resilient: Seattle dispensaries.
During COVID-19, Washington state decided that dispensaries should be treated in a similar fashion to pharmacies, recognizing that patients still need access to medicinal cannabis. Recreational sales were kept open as well, so consumers are able to access legal cannabis without risking the black market.
Seattle Dispensaries See Record Sales
Cannabis sales are still burning up! Fortunately, Seattle dispensaries have also adopted safety measures such as curbside pickup, delivery, and social distancing within stores to keep customers and budtenders safe.
When the COVID-19 outbreak first began, there was a massive surge in panic buying across the country. At grocery stores, produce quickly flew off the shelves. It’s no secret that hand sanitizer and toilet paper were also among the first items to go.
For Seattle dispensaries, there was a parallel surge in sales. First, it began with medical cannabis users wanting to ensure they had enough in stock to ride out the lockdowns. In addition, recreational users also wanted to stockpile their flower, edibles, and tinctures.
What’s interesting is that even after the panic buying subsided, cannabis sales in general are still on the rise.
According to the Auburn Reporter, Nikki Marengon, a marketing manager in the industry, “If you are not able to leave the house, what better thing to do than to smoke a lot of weed?”
Apparently a lot of people agree.
Nationwide, pot sales are expected to rise 40% in 2020 alone. This is according to projections from the Marijuana Business Factbook.
Pieces of the Puzzle
Even though Seattle dispensaries were deemed essential businesses, many analysts expected sales to drop during the pandemic.
As in Colorado, cannabis tourism takes up a large percentage of total sales. Some states like Massachusetts have temporarily forbidden cannabis tourism to prevent state-to-state spread of the virus, but Washington in particular has so far refused to clamp down on out-of-state buyers. Even without strict regulations from the state, travel itself has decreased due to curbed consumer behavior.
Though tourist driven sales have decreased, domestic Seattle dispensary sales have increased. This is also true of most local markets across the nation as well.
But why? Experts are waiting to see if the increased spending on cannabis is tied to the unemployment benefits that workers are receiving. Thanks to the federal stimulus package, many workers are receiving an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits during the pandemic.
Will the increased spending continue once the assistance ends? That remains to be seen. Unless another stimulus package is passed, the current assistance expires at the beginning of August 2020.
Long Term Growth Is Expected for Seattle Dispensaries
Despite short-term uncertainty, the long-term projections for the cannabis industry, especially in Washington, remain strong.
As more states legalize marijuana, the industry continues to grow across the board. One of the initial fears was that as more states legalized cannabis, states like Washington would lose some business. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Indeed, even if cannabis is eventually legalized nationwide, Washington will likely remain a tourist destination for years to come.
Each Seattle dispensary has its own unique suppliers, including local cannabis farms. Couple that with Washington’s beautiful scenery, cultured cities, and artistic communities, and there’s plenty of reasons to believe the state’s cannabis industry will remain strong.
Quarantine Is Viewed As the Perfect Opportunity for Cannabis Sales
Pandemic-induced isolation as well as national turmoil has, in many ways, persuaded the public to “mellow out”.
While some turn to Netflix and others turn to exercise, there are those that use cannabis to both pass the time and to better handle the anxiety of current political climates while being stuck at home. The increased Seattle dispensary sales show that flower, edibles, tinctures, CBD creams, and cartridges have all experienced a higher demand during COVID-19.
What’s more, it’s not just Washington.
Multiple states have labeled cannabis as “essential”. These include California, Michigan, Colorado, Alaska, and Illinois. Other states such as Florida, New Mexico, and Maryland are continuing to allow the sales of medical cannabis only.
Yet, despite the pandemic, sales are strong.
This is a large part of the reason why economic projections still predict the cannabis industry growing up to $37 billion by 2024. For comparison, the total sales last year were less than half of that, $13 billion to be exact – according to Marijuana Business Daily.
Some people believe that quarantine is the perfect environment for cannabis use, as many have used their self-isolation to be more creative. Marijuana use has been believed to be a booster for creative thought, so it’s understandable that people who wouldn’t regularly use cannabis would be more open to its use while in quarantine.
Others simply experiment with the relaxing effects of cannabis, even to take their mind off the drumbeat of national news stories and current economic uncertainty.
As it turns out, virtually every recreational activity including cannabis use (eating, drinking, playing video games, reading, etc.) have increased during quarantine according to Forbes magazine.
This is not to mention increased viewership on Netflix and stats showing that social media usage is at an all-time high.
Seattle Dispensaries Continue to Shine
We’ve already seen Seattle dispensaries adjust to the times, and we expect them to continue doing so!
Just like any other business, cannabis shops have instituted safety measures such as social distancing inside stores as well as curbside pick-up options.
Though cannabis sales across the country continue to rise, Seattle dispensaries show great potential for what can be expected nationwide.
Looking for an awesome dispensary in Seattle? Try American Mary for their incredible deals and variety of cannabis products!