The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the cannabis industry. Investor's Business Daily said the industry was affected as "customers stock up on prescriptions and recreational customers load up on something to make the lockdown a little more mellow or a little less boring".[1]


The Netherlands' coffeeshops were initially closed,[2] but later deemed essential businesses.[3][4]

In North Macedonia, construction of Pharmacon's 178,000-square-foot cannabis grow house slowed because of social distancing requirements.[5]

According to El País, the price of hashish and cannabis rose to double or triple its usual price on the Spanish black market.[6]

Cannabis prices also soared in France. This was partially the result of the interrupted traffic from Morocco via Spain.[7]

North America[edit]


Canada continued operating legal cannabis stores and saw sales increase.[8][9][10]

United States[edit]

The cannabis dispensary Kaleafa in Portland, Oregon's Woodstock neighborhood during the pandemic, as evidenced by the signage and customers practicing social distancing

Many U.S. states with legal cannabis, where dispensaries were deemed "essential" businesses,[11][12] saw sales increases.[13][14][15] California,[16] Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan,[17] New Jersey, New Mexico,[18] New York,[19] Ohio,[20] Oregon, and Washington all deemed cannabis businesses as such.[21][22] U.S. cities issuing similar stances included Chicago,[23] Denver,[23] and San Francisco.[19] Stocks for cannabis companies saw increases following reports of the increased demand.[24]

Some dispensaries had to lay off employees or reduce working hours.[25] The decision to remain open in California drew criticism from those who thought a congregation of shoppers posed a risk of spreading virus.[26] Santa Clara County eliminated take-out service on April 2.[27]

Sales in Denver on March 23, 2020 were up 392 percent over the same weekday prior to the stay-home order.[28] A Reno delivery service saw a 400 percent increase in business after the state ordered in-person retail operations to close.[29] Determination of retail store closures or remaining open as critical infrastructure or essential medical need was uneven in the U.S. states that had legalized sales.[30]

While states that had an established local customer base generally saw an increase in sales, other states where marijuana sales were closely linked with tourism suffered. Markets such as Las Vegas and Massachusetts were hit particularly hard.[31] The sale of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts was generally prohibited by Governor Charlie Barker during the outbreak, with Massachusetts becoming the only state that has legalized marijuana to prohibit it during the pandemic.[32]

In Massachusetts, the Cannabis Control Commission paused the sale of recreation cannabis fearing an influx of out-of-state buyers[33] and following a large increase in registrations by new medical patients and to study the supply chain.[34][35] Five dispensaries and a medical cannabis patient sued Governor Charlie Baker over the closures.[36]

Ann Arbor, Michigan's annual Hash Bash festival was held online.[37] In Missouri, social distancing requirements may prevent organizers of a recreational marijuana legalization campaign from collecting signatures for ballot inclusion.[38]

University of Miami researchers are studying the pandemic's impact on the industry, as of April 2020.[39] Cannabis legalization efforts were paused in multiple U.S. states.[40]

Erik Altieri, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said, "Cannabis is a safe and effective treatment that millions of Americans rely on to maintain productive daily lives while suffering from diseases and ailments. It is the very definition of essential that these individuals can still access their medicine at this time."[41]

Leafly launched a cannabis delivery service for Arizona, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New York, and Oregon.[42]

Controversial and cumbersome licensing processes within California cities and counties may be lessened and more opportunities created as local leadership struggle with COVID related budgets shortfalls, unemployment and lower commercial occupancy rates. [43]


  1. ^ Peters, Bill (March 17, 2020). "Marijuana Stocks Are Tumbling — Are Any Good Buys As Coronavirus Leads To Demand Spike?". Investor's Business Daily.
  2. ^ Live. "Dutch queue for cannabis as coronavirus closes cafes". France 24. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  3. ^ "'Necessities' in Europe: Belgian Fries, French Baguettes and Dutch Cannabis". The Wall Street Journal. 2020-03-25. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  4. ^ "What counts as 'essential' during a coronavirus lockdown? Fries in Belgium, wine in France". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  5. ^ David Segal. "North Macedonia Awaits Marijuana Laws to Become a 'Cannabis Superpower' - The New York Times". Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  6. ^ "Los porros ya cuestan a precio de oro". El País (in Spanish). 24 March 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Cannabis street prices surge under coronavirus lockdown in France". Reuters. 2020-03-27. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  8. ^ "Cannabis sales hit new highs in US and Canada". New York Post. 2020-03-24. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  9. ^ "As customers hoard pot brownies, North American weed firms see lockdown boost". Reuters. 2020-03-24. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  10. ^ Live (1970-01-01). "After a long day of lockdown, how 'essential' is a drink?". France 24. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  11. ^ Levin, Dan (2020-03-25). "Is Marijuana an 'Essential' Like Milk or Bread? Some States Say Yes". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  12. ^ "Cannabis finds its moment amid coronavirus outbreak". POLITICO. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  13. ^ Wells, Jane (2020-03-25). "Legal cannabis industry sees record sales as customers facing coronavirus crisis stock up". CNBC. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  14. ^ "Cannabis industry booming, but companies left out of coronavirus stimulus". San Francisco Chronicle. 2020-03-28. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  15. ^ Hughes, Trevor. "Will legal marijuana stores close? Americans stock up on pot for coronavirus quarantine". USA Today. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  16. ^ "California Deems Pot an Essential Coronavirus Business". The Wall Street Journal. 2020-03-23. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
  17. ^ Neavling, Steve. "Michigan's marijuana industry is deemed 'essential' during coronavirus outbreak". Detroit Metro Times. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
  18. ^ Chief, Dan Boyd | Journal Capitol Bureau. "Medical pot sales adapt in response to coronavirus".
  19. ^ a b "Amid Coronavirus, San Francisco, New York, Deem Marijuana Businesses 'Essential'". Retrieved 2020-04-02.
  20. ^ "Coronavirus in Ohio: Medical marijuana dispensaries can offer curbside pick-up".
  21. ^ "Marijuana dispensaries in some states deemed an "essential service" during coronavirus lockdowns". CBS News. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
  22. ^ "Marijuana deemed 'essential' in Washington, gets looser rules amid the coronavirus outbreak | The Spokesman-Review". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
  23. ^ a b "What is an essential business in 10 U.S. cities". Washington Post. 2020-03-25. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  24. ^ "Cannabis stocks surge as virus shut-ins load up". WPDE. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  25. ^ Jacobson, Willis. "Lompoc cannabis industry feeling the effects — good and bad — of coronavirus pandemic". Santa Maria Times. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  26. ^ McGreevy, Patrick. (March 31, 2020). "'Essential' cannabis sparks debate; Governor's decree draws fire from critics who say shops could spread disease". Los Angeles Times. p. B.1.
  27. ^ "Coronavirus: Santa Clara Co. ends recreational marijuana take-out". 2 April 2020. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  28. ^ Mitchell, Thomas (March 29, 2020). "Denver Pot Sales Jump 392 Percent During March 23 Shutdown Scare". Westword. Denver.
  29. ^ Kane, Jenny (March 31, 2020). "Marijuana deliveries skyrocketing amid virus pandemic". Reno Gazette-Journal. p. A.3.
  30. ^ Scottie, Andrew (March 25, 2020). "What constitutes 'essential businesses'? States seem to have varying standards". CNN.
  31. ^ Schaneman, Bart. "How lack of tourism during COVID-19 is affecting cannabis retailers in certain markets". Marijuana Business Daily. Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  32. ^ Hanson, Melissa. "Shut down amid coronavirus pandemic, Mass. recreational marijuana businesses plan to make pitch to be part of May 18 reopening plan". MassLive. Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  33. ^ Cherney, Max A. "Pot shops are considered 'essential' businesses in most states where it's legal, but the rules are shifting". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  34. ^ Hanson, Melissa (2020-04-03). "Coronavirus: Cannabis Control Commission to study medical marijuana supply chain after spike in patient applications during COVID-19 pandemic". masslive. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  35. ^ /00:00Playing Live (2020-03-27). "More People Are Seeking Medical Marijuana Cards Amid Coronavirus Outbreak | Bostonomix". Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  36. ^ "Recreational marijuana companies sue Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker over shutdown - The Boston Globe".
  37. ^ Lee DeVito. "The 2020 Hash Bash will be livestreamed due to the coronavirus | One Hitters | Detroit | Detroit Metro Times". Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  38. ^ "Virus likely dooms Missouri recreational marijuana campaign". KCTV Kansas City. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  39. ^ "Florida researchers studying COVID-19 impact on marijuana users".
  40. ^ "Pandemic upends pot legalization". POLITICO.
  41. ^ Andrew Selsky (2020-03-29). "Coronavirus: Nations classify what is 'essential' during lockdown with some US states choosing guns and cannabis". The Independent. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  42. ^ "Company now delivers cannabis to customers' homes, hoping to reduce spread of coronavirus". KATU. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  43. ^ "COVID-19 Recession Creates Even More California Cannabis Start Up Opportunities". Cannabiz Digital. 2020-07-10. Retrieved 2020-07-14.

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