COVID-19

Pot sales on the rise in some states with people home due to COVID-19

Mitchell Hartman Apr 20, 2020
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Cannabis sales are still up compared to last April in major markets like California, Washington and Colorado. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
COVID-19

Pot sales on the rise in some states with people home due to COVID-19

Mitchell Hartman Apr 20, 2020
Cannabis sales are still up compared to last April in major markets like California, Washington and Colorado. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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It is Monday, April 20, which means it’s also 4/20 — the ad hoc international holiday to celebrate marijuana use and legalization.

You would think anything that involves large groups of people joining together, listening to music and speeches about legalizing pot and sparking up some joints would be cancelled in this year of COVID-19.

But organizers are calling for the celebrations to go ahead — safely, with no public gatherings, but instead virtual ones, online.

Pandemic or not, the recreational marijuana industry is doing just fine.

Oregon is one of 11 states where it’s legal for adults to use recreational marijuana. Many businesses are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but pot stores are staying open, many of them preferring curbside service.

This store in Portland, Oregon, that sells marijuana legally is permitted to remain open under statewide COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Of 11 states that have legalized recreational marijuana for adult use, only Massachusetts has ordered its stores closed. (Mitchell Hartman/Marketplace)

Cannabis retailers are deemed “essential” — it’s the same in most states where recreational marijuana is legal.

And sales have held up well, says Troy Dayton at the Arcview market research group.

“At the beginning of this, sort-of mid-March, there was a huge spike in sales,” Dayton said. “As people were panic buying, this was one of the products that they were stocking up on.”

Cannabis sales are still up compared to last April in major markets like California, Washington and Colorado.

Christian Groh, at investment firm Privateer Holdings, says it’s not surprising.

“Cannabis, much like alcohol, has the potential to be a counter-cyclical product,” Groh said. “Counter-cyclical businesses make products that actually see increased demand in times of economic distress.”

The cannabis business is volatile. Last year, several high-profile startups saw their stock soar, then fall back down to earth.

“There was a bit of overvaluation happening, there was a bubble that kind-of burst on it, not dissimilar to what we saw during the dot-com bubble,” Dayton said.

Eli McVey, at Marijuana Business Daily, predicts strong sales growth will continue once the COVID-19 economic crisis is past

“We’re seeing new consumers. Gen Z is just now coming of age, over 21,” McVey said.

The pandemic will delay legalization efforts in new markets, like Missouri and New York.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.

U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

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