The boom in delivery and curbside pickup during coronavirus lockdowns has led many to wonder if consumers will still prefer these services to in-store shopping after the pandemic subsides. However, when it comes to cannabis shoppers, it appears there is no substitute for the brick and mortar experience.

After stay-at-home orders have eased across the country in recent weeks, dispensary owners have seen their old customers coming back in large numbers.

Akerna Corp, a cannabis technology company that works with retailers, has already seen a steady return to in-store shopping and decline in delivery and pickup orders.

“We continue to see that the in-store interaction between consumer and budtender is key for people purchasing cannabis, and delivery takes away that,” Aryeh Primus, vice president of analytics at Akerna, told The Street.

“The number of delivery orders skyrocketed in March and April, but in May we’re seeing a shift back towards in person transactions… When we saw the increase in alternate modes of fulfillment, like delivery and curbside pickup, our initial thought was that this might be a sustainable trend because of increased consumer convenience.”

Akerna also detected an overall spike in cannabis consuming during coronavirus lockdown. Their data shows that sales in April were up 68% over the same month last year, with concentrate sales specifically boosted 22%

While many retailers have been forced to close in recent months, new cannabis stores have continued to open. Green Thumb Industries has announced new retail locations in Nevada and Illinois, while Cresco Labs is opening a new store in Chicago. New openings have also been in Oregon, Florida, and Massachusetts.

Photo via Flickr/Aranami

Natalie