By Dan Levin
And in many places, marijuana makes the list.
Over the past week, more than a dozen states have agreed that while “nonessential” stores had to close, pot shops and medical marijuana dispensaries could remain open — official recognition that for some Americans, cannabis is as necessary as milk and bread.
In most cases, the marijuana businesses must, like restaurants, limit themselves to taking orders for delivery or curbside pickup.
As Americans have raced in recent weeks to stock up on supplies like toilet paper, canned goods and hand sanitizer, many who live in states where marijuana has been legalized — including California, Oregon and Michigan — also rushed to buy enough cannabis products to last them through weeks, if not months, of hunkering down at home.
Women and young people — Generation Z — accounted for much of the sales growth, according to Headset.
“It shows that a lot of people think cannabis is just another consumer good, like beer or wine,” said Ms. Connor, who noted that edible products may have been the most popular because customers were taking precautions to avoid infection. “It’s probably the easiest way to get high without touching your face very much,” she said.
When the mayor of Denver ordered all nonessential businesses to close on Tuesday for the next three weeks, he said that the order included recreational marijuana retailers, prompting long lines to form outside some stores. Medical marijuana dispensaries, however, are exempt.
Denver also ordered its liquor stores to close; so did Pennsylvania. But many states, including New York, have decided that liquor stores are
“People were concerned we would be shut down,” Mr. Rockland said, comparing the rush on marijuana to “hoarding toilet paper.”
But while toilet paper has sometimes been nearly impossible to find in grocery stores and pharmacies, Ilera Healthcare has not run out of
In many states, cannabis businesses are being careful to adhere to standards defined by the federal government, to ensure they are deemed essential and can remain open. Nevada regulators have allowed recreational stores and 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.
Mindful of rules on social distancing and eager to attract anxious customers, many pot shops and dispensaries have sought to adapt by offering more deliveries and changing their practices.
Despite high demand, however, not all states that have ordered business closures because of the virus outbreak are allowing legal marijuana businesses to continue to serve customers.
Jackie Subeck, a cannabis industry consultant in Los Angeles, said she planned to restock her personal supply this week, out of concern that California may soon enforce even more restrictions over the
At the same time, she said she is worried the marijuana supply chain might soon dry up, because the masks and gloves that workers in the legal industry are required to wear are now in short supply.
“I want to make sure I have enough to maintain my daily lifestyle,” she said. “For me, it’s more important to have enough cannabis around than alcohol.”
Not surprisingly, black-market pot dealers have also been doing a brisk business during the crisis, and unlike legal sellers, they feel little need to abide by official orders. One dealer in New York City said sales suddenly picked up two weeks ago when residents began to grow more nervous about imminent social distancing restrictions. “People were coming out of the woodwork,” said the dealer, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Chris, to avoid trouble with the police.
He has since sold out of marijuana candies, and said he was constantly getting calls for more weed. Customers no longer like to hang out in his apartment or let him linger during deliveries, he said. And he related how a couple showed up outside his building recently wearing masks and gloves, handed him a box of disinfectant wipes with the cash hidden inside, and drove off after he tossed their order into their car through an open window.
Still, he said, many of his customers have confided that buying marijuana was worth the close contact, if only to relieve their anxiety.