Add Arizona to the list of states where marijuana sales have jumped amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Local television station 3TV/CBS 5 reported this week that “around 17,000 pounds of medical marijuana was sold in the state during March,” which was “up around a ton from February’s figure, and included around 100,000 more transactions than in February.”
Even hundreds of reported cases of COVID-19 in his state, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, waited until late March to issue a stay-at-home order, which is in effect until April 30. Medical marijuana dispensaries in the state have remained open during the outbreak.
Raul Molina, who works with Mint Dispensary in Tempe, Arizona, told 3TV that sales for cannabis at the outset of the pandemic were “a little bit like the toilet paper sales at your local Costco.”
“Everybody came in trying to pick up as much as they could,” Molina said. On Monday, 4/20, Molina said there was a line of customers wrapping around the store’s building. Since the start of the pandemic, Mint Dispensary’s sales have gone up 50%, according to Molina.
“A lot of different dispensaries have had a shortage of product,” Molina said. “That was something we didn’t expect. We thought that Arizona had an ample supply to the point where if there was a spike, if recreational happened or something like that, we were gonna be able to handle it.”
Cannabis industry insiders told High Times last month that the COVID-19 outbreak appeared to be a transformative event for their business. Shareef El-Sissi, the CEO of the California cannabis company Eden Enterprises, said that the outbreak represented the “first panic buying event” for cannabis retail.
“I believe cannabis retail will never be the same. Retailers have been forced to pivot towards a digital first approach and customers have quickly adjusted to the new norm,” said El-Sissi. “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.”