Despite the major impact the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the economy in general, and especially the cannabis industry in the absence of federal loans, the medical cannabis industry in Maine claims that business is still booming.
Those involved in medical cannabis in the state claim that customers are purchasing more than they did before the pandemic.
“On average it’s about twice as much,” claims Charlie Langston, general manager at the Wellness Connection of Maine in Portland.
This could simply be due to seasonal sales, as Langston claims those tend to trend upward in the warmer months, but it could also be from additional stress from the crisis. Those who use cannabis to help keep stress levels down are likely going through more than their usual doses.
“We have a lot of patients who use cannabis for anxiety, stress, sleep, and all of those things are a challenge for people now,” Langston said.
MMJ Certifications Increase As Well
The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy claims that certifications for medical cannabis also increased. Numbers are up by 30 percent from January to April, as more folks are looking for relief during tough times.
Another reason for this uptick in sales could be the announcement that adult cannabis use will not be rolled out as planned due to COVID-19. On April 10, The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy announced there would be a delay on adult use, so more people are taking action to get a medical card.
“People (are) saying, ‘I’m not going to wait; I’m going to get a medical certification,'” Langston said.
Still, despite this uptick in sales, the way in which these businesses are interacting with customers has changed a lot. Maine stores are now scrambling to find out how to connect and serve their clients while still maintaining proper social distancing procedures.
“(We’re) looking into things like video chatting where we can connect with customers face-to-face without masks and social distancing,” Langston said.
This uptick can be interpreted as more evidence that cannabis should remain essential, and become legal, after the pandemic, as well as evidence that Maine can’t get their recreational business going quickly enough to meet demand.