They’re not closed yet! Customers are stocking up on cannabis this weekend, preparing for what could be more retail store restrictions in coming days. (Krizde/AdobeStock)
As more European countries impose nationwide shutdown orders, leaving all stores except food and pharmacy outlets shuttered, cannabis stores are experiencing a dramatic surge in sales this weekend.
On Saturday, Boston’s WGBH broadcast images of customers lining up outside New England Treatment Access (NETA) in Brookline, one of the few licensed cannabis stores operating in Massachusetts. WGBH’s Tori Bedford reported:
In Brookline, marijuana dispensary New England Treatment Access has eliminated all walk-in orders due to a high volume of customers, and will now only serve customers who place orders in advance. “In light of the current environment, we will remain open,” an announcement on the NETA website reads, “but will move to Reserve Ahead only starting on Saturday.”
Inside the Brookline store, employees wear latex gloves, and bottles of hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray sit beside each checkout station. The process is efficient, a quick in-and-out, as compared to the massive lines seen snaking around the parking lot of the shop in the past few days, according to NETA employees.
Later Sunday, Boston Mayor Mary Walsh imposed new restrictions on the city’s bars and restaurants. Those establishments will have to cut their capacity in half, and close by 11pm every night. As of now, there are no unusual restrictions on cannabis stores.
Also Sunday, the governors of Ohio and Illinois ordered all bars and restaurants closed.
California sales spiking
In California, delivery services and stores report 4/20 and Black Friday-style sales volume has arrived early this year, thanks to COVID-19.
Overall, delivery services are doing brisk business as people socially isolate. Statewide delivery service Ganja Goddess Delivers reports month over month sales traffic spiking first 20%, then 50%. The California Delivery Alliance reports sales are way up across all the states 200 or so licensed delivery services.
In San Jose, Airfield Supply Co. announced free delivery and has experienced a 100% increase in sales in the last two days.
At the brick & mortar level, The Farmacy retail stores are seeing less of a bump than delivery services, but still double digit percentage increases.
The Green Cross adult-use cannabis store in San Francisco reports many shoppers buying up to the legal limit (one ounce) in California. Up from just a few shoppers prepping last week.
Writer and editor Lindsey Bartlett sent out this tweet from an Orange County store on Saturday:
At one of the few dispensaries in Orange County, it is slammed. There are about 20 people (the allotment allowed into the room) in line. And more outside.
This is usually a busy dispensary but at this hour, it’s 10x the amount of people you usually see. Staff is wearing gloves.
— Lindsey Bartlett (@lindseybartlett) March 14, 2020
Dutch coffeehouses closing tonight
In cities across the Netherlands, consumers are lining up outside that nation’s famous coffeehouses to stock up on supplies before a nationwide shutdown takes effect. The government has announced that all cafés and coffeeshops must close today at 6pm until April 6.
Our friends at VOC Nederland retweeted this video of customers lined up outside a coffeehouse today in the Dutch city of Groningen:
Twintig minuten voor zes uur: “Om zes uur gaan alle #coffeeshops dicht”
— 𝐄𝐬𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 (@esthsamuel) March 15, 2020
Shopping tips during COVID
- Use licensed delivery—if available—in your area.
- Use Leafly Pickup to order ahead, and save time in-store.
- Go early when the store opens to decrease exposure to others.
- Keep six to nine feet apart from others.
- Consider personal protective equipment like gloves, masks, and goggles when in enclosed spaces—like stores—with strangers. (Remember to discard that equipment afterward, and decontaminate, so as not to bring contamination inside your home.)