By placing the “essential” tag on marijuana during the pandemic, cannabis joined the same category as pharmacies, hospitals, and other legitimate medicine.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented and worrisome impact on all businesses and sectors across the world. The cannabis and liquor businesses were not spared, and it is expected to think about the state of these businesses post-COVID-19.
Interestingly, one of the focal points to consider is the priority people will place on both substances. Will cannabis be more prominent in use than liquor, or will it be vice versa? How will cannabis businesses fare over the liquor business?
The move by the California state during the pandemic
One week after the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic, the state of California announced a statewide business lockdown. The state of Illinois also followed through with the same directive after California.
Both states designated marijuana businesses and operators as “essential services” with supermarkets, pharmacies, and liquor stores. These businesses were allowed to be opened while other businesses shut down.
Other states quickly followed the California and Illinois lead by declaring marijuana operates as an important business. This move enabled a rush for such essential designations in the early weeks of the pandemic. This rush for marijuana was a progressive moment in the marijuana industry which also led to the creation of new legal state marijuana markets.
These new markets are projected to generate billions of dollars from marijuana sales, positioning the market and industry for future expansion. By placing the “essential” tag on marijuana, cannabis joined the same category as pharmacies, hospitals, and other legitimate medicine.
Cannabis went from being an alternative treatment to an essential medicine which is a significant upgrade in credibility. Therefore, states put marijuana on the same level as liquor. With both substances on the same level during the pandemic, it is expected that in the post-COVID-19 era, marijuana businesses will remain essential.
Marijuana over liquor: an inevitable choice post-COVID-19.
During the pandemic, people generally focused more on the businesses that were tagged essential. This means cannabis enthusiasts weren’t left dry without access to their favorite substances. When the lockdowns were lifted, and people got vaccinated, the marijuana industry continued to grow exponentially, which cannot be said of the liquor market.
Of course, people who loved liquor also enjoyed it but thought that marijuana was a marginalized industry before the pandemic. It remains illegal at the Federal level. But the pandemic shifted this reality such that people started to see the value that marijuana offered, especially to their health.
Liquor, on the other, although an excellent recreational substance, was mainly seen as a threat as most people tried to get rid of things that could affect the organs of their bodies. As we all know, alcohol increases the risk of damage to our organs getting damaged with each drink.
There was reiterated emphasis on people checking what they consumed post-COVID-19, and if liquor doesn’t do much do, the focus will quickly shift to marijuana. The focus here is on marijuana for medical purposes, which positively impacts the human body.
Cannabis as an essential substance good for business
The “Essential” designation gives to cannabis during the pandemic destigmatized the drug amongst consumers. Such that regulators in many states insisted on business-friendly safety measures like home delivery and curbside pickup.
Post COVID-19 era will see a continuation of this practice which means more people will gain access to cannabis, unlike the pre-pandemic period. State health authorities also gave physicians the green light to prescribe medical marijuana (through online appointments). This move made it easier for patients to get medical cards and receive marijuana-based treatment.
These factors led to states where marijuana was legal across the nation to attain record sales in 2020. This situation is a point of optimism for the marijuana industry on how well the market will thrive far above the liquor market post-COVID-19.
Why people prefer cannabis to alcohol post COVID-19
Since the pandemic, states saw increased new consumers at their dispensaries, with more people willing to explore marijuana. This increasing diversity amongst consumers continues largely, with people incorporating cannabis into their health and wellness routines.
The central message during the pandemic was simple: keep your immune system strong enough to resist the virus. Excessive intake of liquor counters that message, and this drove people into seeking solutions. Harris Poll surveyed on behalf of Curaleafa retailer of cannabis products operating in 23 states.
From that survey, some interesting statistics were discovered. The first of which is that aside from new consumers, old cannabis users also increased their usage.
- 54% of those who increased their usage started at the beginning of the pandemic, and they said they did it to reduce stress and anxiety.
- 50% of respondents increased their usage because they said that cannabis enabled them to relax.
- At the same time, 48% increased their use to help them sleep.
- Additionally, 33% attest to the fact that they prefer cannabis over alcohol.
More parents also turned to cannabis over liquor during the pandemic, and it continued post-pandemic:
- With this realization, more than 52% of the respondents who have ever used cannabis with kids under 18 say they have started taking cannabis.
- 33% of parents without children under the age of 18 agree with the first respondents.
- 57% of parents agree that their use of marijuana has replaced alcohol consumption.
These facts further confirm that cannabis is taking a front stage over liquor which is a massive boost for the marijuana industry.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were still some hesitations in some states over the use of cannabis. But with California and Illinois tagging it as an essential service during the pandemic.
Medical marijuana started to take over with doctors getting the go-ahead to recommend it when needed. This explosion of cannabis in states during the pandemic continues post-COVID-19, and it has led to cannabis preference over liquor.
Eventually, people will always choose the more positively impactful substance, even for recreational purposes. Cannabis recorded groundbreaking sales from 2020 to the present, and with that, we have an answer for the original question: cannabis trumps liquor in a post pandemic world.