Marijuana usage reaches a new high after pot smokers stocked up on cannabis last month as coronarivus lockdowns went into effect
- Survey of 2,500 consumers found increase in usage of cannabis in March
- Study found 12.8 per cent of respondents said they used cannabis during month
- Last month, cannabis sales spiked as users stocked up just before lockdowns
- Recreational cannabis sales were up 50 per cent in Western states and Alaska
Cannabis use hit an all-time high in March as hundreds of millions of Americans heeded government orders to shelter in place amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
A survey by Cowen & Co. found that 12.8 per cent of respondents said they had used pot at some point during the month of March.
That is slightly above the 12.5 per cent average from 2019.
The survey was conducted with 2,500 consumers, according to Bloomberg News.
People stand in freshly painted circles, six-feet-apart, as they wait in a two-hour line to buy marijuana products from Good Chemistry on March 23, 2020 in Denver
Between March 16 and March 22, sales of recreational cannabis across key US markets, including California, Colorado, Oregon and Alaska, were up 50 percent and medical marijuana sales rose 41 percent from the same period last year, figures obtained from cannabis point of sale and data platform Flowhub show.
Several US states and Canadian provinces have taken steps to curb the fast-spreading coronavirus by issuing stay at home orders, restricting business operations, or closing down borders as death toll in both countries approaches 600.
While many businesses have been ordered shut, cannabis stores have been listed as essential services and allowed to remain open.
In Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, online sales on the government-run Ontario Cannabis Store’s (OCS) Web site have soared over the last two weeks, OCS director of communications Daffyd Roderick, said.
For example, last weekend’s orders were more than twice as high as only two weeks ago.
In Nova Scotia, which on Sunday became the latest province to declare a coronavirus emergency, cannabis sales spiked 76 percent at one point last month, according to the province’s liquor commission, which controls sales of cannabis there.
Fears of months of supply disruptions were boosting Canadian sales, Stuart Titus, CEO of California-based Medical Marijuana Inc told Reuters.
‘We have seen stockpiling in Canada by consumers who have snapped up products from LPs (licensed producers).’
The surge in demand may offer pot producers a welcome respite after investors sold off cannabis stocks throughout much of last year as profits in the sector remained elusive.
Jamie Pearson, CEO of California-based Bhang Inc, which makes cannabis-infused beverages, chocolates and other products, said sales were booming and should boost revenue and profits this quarter.
Pearson said edibles such as gummies, brownies, and chocolates were most popular, probably because they were easier to store and eat, even with gloves on.
Still, Titus and others recommended caution, saying the long-awaited reversal of fortune could prove not much more than a short-lived relief.
‘The cannabis industry is showing itself to be recession-proof but at times like this, it’s important to understand that the spike in consumer demand is probably not going to last long,’ Avis Bulbulyan, CEO of cannabis consulting firm Siva Enterprises, said.
March saw a sharp spike in cannabis sales as Americans prepared to hunker down and shelter in place during the coronavirus pandemic