While other parts of the state’s economy languish amid the shutdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Oregon’s recreational marijuana market is booming.
Last month, pot sales in the Beaver State hit $89 million, as reported by local television outlet KHOU, which said that the tally represented a 45% spike since last April. That also made April 2020 the largest month for cannabis sales in state history. The previous record holder? March of this year, when sales hit $84.5 million.
Those eye-popping sales numbers—as well as the decision by Oregon and virtually every other state that has legal pot to make cannabis retailers an “essential business” during the coronavirus outbreak—have made the pandemic something of a watershed period for the country’s still-young marijuana industry.
Sales Spikes Not Unique To Oregon
In March, High Times spoke to Shareef El-Sissi, CEO of the California-based cannabis company Eden Enterprises, about the spikes in cannabis sales in legal states. He posited that “cannabis retail will never be the same” due to a newly implemented digital approach in pot sales, and the customers who seem to be enjoying that mode of retail.
“When the quarantining is over, I think customers will continue to use digital channels to purchase cannabis. This is more inline with the order online, pick-up in store trend sweeping traditional retail as well,” he said. El-Sissi also pointed out that the pandemic represented the “first panic buying event” for cannabis retail.
Some marijuana markets saw an immediate spike at the outset of the shutdown, including in Oregon, where the cannabis research company Headset reported on March 16 that adult use weed sales were 75% higher than the preceding four weeks.
It has been a similar story in Michigan, where weekly sales of recreational marijuana have gone up dramatically since March 9. Medical marijuana markets have also been affected in a similar way, with Arizona and Oklahoma alike reporting booming medicinal sales during the outbreak.