The Coronavirus Cannabis Boom
Undoubtedly, one of the main contributors to last year’s impressive growth was the coronavirus pandemic and the effect that it had on the way that people spend their time and their dollars. From restaurants to airlines, the pandemic has been devastating for countless industries, but not for cannabis.
Instead, 2020 was a defining year for cannabis retailers. Medicinal and recreational cannabis products flew off the shelves this year, shattering sales records and raising the bar for future profits. Thanks to social distancing guidelines, quarantines, and lockdowns, more Americans than ever before turned to legal cannabis to fill up their time and help them relax.
With not a lot to do and few social events to enjoy, many Americans have made cannabis one of their go-to pastimes. The trend started in March, with many people stocking up on cannabis for the long weeks and months ahead. But far from dying down, the trend has only continued, with sales numbers continuing to surge through the end of the year.
Furthermore, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the move to e-commerce for many industries, including cannabis. In response, cannabis customers have welcomed online ordering with open arms. Since March, the online cannabis ordering service dutchie has seen online sales rise by over 700%, alongside a 32% rise in average order size. The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t just encouraged more cannabis sales, it’s also pushed Americans to buy more of it than they usually would.
What Do the Numbers Say?
Cannabis was already the fastest growing industry in America, but the pandemic has truly taken it to another level.
On the west coast, sales in California’s legal cannabis market grew from $2.8 billion in 2019 to $4.4 billion in 2020, while Oregon’s legal market surpassed $1 billion in sales for the first time ever. And while its gains were modest by comparison, Washington’s legal cannabis market also reached a new high of $1.4 billion in sales, compared to just $1.1 billion last year.
In Colorado, sales reached a new high of over $2 billion without even counting December’s sales. Even Nevada’s legal cannabis market – which has long been thought to be heavily dependent on tourist dollars – was able to rake in over $700 million in sales from just January to September. And in Massachusetts, where adult-use stores were closed last spring, sales were up nearly 56% since 2019.
No End In Sight
Industry analysts believe that these numbers are a sign of even better things to come. Legalized cannabis was a big winner in the 2020 election, now being legal for recreational use in Arizona, Missouri, Montana, South Dakota, and New Jersey. It seems that a record number of Americans are now in support of legalizing recreational cannabis.
And while the Coronavirus pandemic certainly helped to boost cannabis sales numbers, analysts believe those numbers would have risen anyway. It’s hard to tell how big the coronavirus bump really was, but sales trends indicated a sales boost in 2020 anyway. Would they have risen this much without the influence of COVID? Probably not. But with the cannabis market rapidly expanding and the continued de-stigmatization of cannabis use, there’s no reason to think that these numbers aren’t sustainable.
Cannabis has entered the mainstream – and it isn’t going anywhere. The US legal cannabis market is projected to be worth roughly $24.5 billion by the end of 2021. As more states approve legal cannabis, and more Americans purchase cannabis products, the cannabis industry is set to continue its rapid expansion and booming sales numbers.