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Consumers Are Stocking Up On Weed Like It’s Toilet Paper Amid COVID-19

The coronavirus outbreak has caused sales to almost double in some recreational markets, with edibles seeing the most dramatic rise.

When the gravity around the coronavirus finally struck Americans this past week, most rushed to buy the necessities to survive an extended period of isolation. This included things like bread, toilet paper, and peanut butter. It also included marijuana.

Recent data from Headset Analytics confirms the response around COVID-19 has caused a recent uptick of business for cannabis stores. Some states saw marijuana sales comparable to 4/20, an annual holiday that accounts for the biggest spikes in weed purchases. On Tuesday, California adult-use sales were 56% higher compared to the previous month’s Monday average. Oregon marijuana sales, meanwhile, saw a 75% increase this week using the same parameters.

Washington state didn’t see significantly more people rushing to cannabis stores, with only a 6% rise in total baskets. Those that did come, however, spent more than normal. The average basket price was $33.70 before taxes, which was 28% higher than January and February sales. Denver easily topped those figures, however, as residents spent an average $58 per basket purchase.

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Headset Director of Analytics Liz Hannah added that Nevada didn’t see nearly the dramatic sales increase as other states.

“Anytime there’s a bit of a consumer panic, people exhibit stock-up behavior or hoarding behavior,” Connors told The Fresh Toast. “It appears cannabis is no exception and I would expect that to continue at least as long as it does in the consumer-packaged goods space.”

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Headset data shows consumers stocked up on edibles in a dramatic manner. In only four weeks, edibles had a 27% increase in market share due to a coronavirus-related bump. California marijuana stores had a 107% jump in edible volume sales this week, meaning residents bought more than twice the amount of edibles as usual. Washington had a 56% boost in edible sales as well.

“With edibles, it’s probably the easiest way to get high without touching your face very much,” Connors said. “If you want to share it with someone, they’re pre-wrapped little. So there’s very little risk of transmitting the virus versus sharing a joint. I think it’s a great decision right now.”

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Cities and states have declared marijuana an “essential good” for residents, even those living under “shelter-in-place” conditions. Like grocery stores, dispensaries should remain open. But if sales continue to rise, Connors predicts possible restrictions coming soon.

“It feels like people are stocking up on cannabis the same as they’re stacking up on toilet paper at this point,” she said. “I don’t really see a lot of restrictions in place in cannabis stores where you can only buy two of something. But if trends continue, I wouldn’t be surprised if that starts to happen.”

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