Even amid the green bubble of the legal cannabis industry of the last several years, the vast majority of weed purchased is from illegal sources. However, since March of this year, unprecedented circumstances have caused consumers to shun black market dealers in favor of legal weed suppliers.
In many ways, social distancing has hurt illicit weed dealers while helping their legal counterparts. Users don’t necessarily want the risk of coming into contact with an unregulated drug dealer, in particular inviting them into their homes.
At the same time, legal cannabis shops have been given new freedoms to allow for curbside pickup and delivery in many states including Colorado, which legalized weed delivery for the first time.
“It’s understandable that people may be more hesitant to get their products from sources that are unregulated,” Kris Krane, CEO of interstate dispensary chain 4Front Ventures, told Politico.
“They may not want to go to their dealer’s house, or they may not want to have their dealer come into their house, at a time when people are social distancing and not supposed to be interacting with people that they don’t know.”
There also seems to be an increased need for weed, as people across the country attempt to cope with rapidly changing economic, social, and health realities.
“Obviously we all understand because we’re living it, that there is an increased anxiety level, which can trigger increased consumption,” said Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve, Florida’s biggest cannabis retailer.
Florida has issued more than 50,000 medical marijuana cards to new patients since March and Trulieve has doubled its number of delivery drivers to accommodate the new demand.
Florida is far from the only state to see an increase in demand. For example, Oregon has increased its statewide sales from less than $70 million in January and February of this year to more than $100 million in May and June.
Total weed revenues are expected to increase 25% this year over 2019, to a whopping total $17 billion.Photo via Flickr/WeedPornDaily