What The Coronavirus Means for The Cannabis Industry

The Impact of a Global Pandemic on Legalized Cannabis

From restaurants to airlines and even media outlets, the COVID-19 pandemic has reaped havoc on the global economy and wiped out businesses left, right, and center. But what has happened to the cannabis industry throughout all of this and where do things currently stand? Surprisingly enough, things aren’t as bad as you would expect.

Keep reading to learn more about the not-so devastating impact the coronavirus has had on the world of cannabis.

The Positive Effect COVID-19 Is Having on Legalized Cannabis in the U.S.

Not today COVID-19 sign

While it feels like the world has been operating at a snail’s pace for the past three months, according to CNBC, this pandemic may be having a positive effect on the American cannabis industry by ramping up federal legalization.

A group of cannabis CEOs told CNBC that the possibility of federal marijuana legalization will dramatically increase due to a variety of factors. For starters, several states have declared dispensaries as essential businesses which allows them to remain open during the pandemic.

In fact, 8 of the 11 U.S. states where cannabis is legal to both use and sell have declared dispensaries as essential businesses. Not only that, but CNBC also reported that weekly cannabis sales in March were at an all-time high, totaling $134 million in California, Washington, Nevada, and Colorado combined. This is a 17% increase from the weekly average in 2019.

Even more impressive is that in the second half of March, the average purchase increased by 47%, making a pretty strong case for legalization. Not bad considering we’re in the midst of a global pandemic.

READ MORE: Seth Rogen is Smoking Ungodly Amounts of Weed During the Pandemic

How COVID-19 is Impacting Canada’s Cannabis Industry

Person holding Maple leaf

In Canada, where cannabis has been legalized nationwide since 2018, the effect is also being felt across several provinces.

For instance, in Ontario, cannabis stores have not been designated as an essential service and therefore, storefronts are unable to provide service to customers, except for delivery and curbside pickup.

However, online sales are still available and have proven to be quite the cash cow. According to BNN Bloomberg, Ontario Cannabis Store sales hovered at more than 2,000 orders a day for just the first half of March alone and eventually spiked to a whopping 14,000 daily orders.

READ MORE: Ontario Raked in $4.3M in Legal Cannabis Sales in January Alone

Ontario has also been carrying out virtual inspections of cannabis stores which allows many new cannabis businesses to move forward with plans for a grand opening post-pandemic.

Meanwhile, in the provinces of Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia, cannabis sales have been declared an essential service, and provincial cannabis stores have remained open, with online sales also available.

Further Ways the Cannabis Community Has Been Affected

The exact impact on the community as a whole has been difficult to measure, but it’s safe to say that not much has changed.

With legal dispensaries remaining open in most U.S. states and Canadian provinces, people are smoking just as much weed – if not more – during this pandemic than before coronavirus became a household name.

However, there are a few ways cannabis lovers are reeling during this time.


vape pens

Let’s start with the good news – weed itself isn’t yet in short supply since most growers are continuing to grow and distribute cannabis as usual, but have taken some precautions to keep workers safe.

However, there have been some shortages of hardware manufactured in China used to make vaporizers and cannabis product packaging along with specialty equipment for testing labs, extraction facilities, and other cannabis businesses. There have also been shortages of raw Chinese hemp material being exported to the U.S. and elsewhere.

Another unfortunate byproduct of COVI-19 is that some cannabis brands have had to postpone the launches of new products due to these supply shortages.


man smoking a joint

Probably the most devastating effect that COVID-19 has had on the cannabis community is the cancellation of 420 gatherings all over the world. To add insult to injury, this year’s 420 celebrations were set to be pretty epic and last for an entire month due to the fact that all of April is technically 420 (April 2020). And while online celebrations replaced in-person gatherings, it just wasn’t the same.

READ MORE: How to Celebrate 420 During a Global Pandemic

No More Sharing Blunts

Person passing a joint to another person

Besides not being able to get together with friends to get high together, this pandemic has drastically changed the way we smoke weed altogether. This means no more sharing blunts, bongs, pipes, and even your stash. This isn’t all that bad though, as it means you get to keep more for yourself!

How has this pandemic affected your weed habits? Are you smoking more, less, or the same as normal?