COVID-19: Impending Quarantines leading to Cannabis Stockpiling

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, with the death toll and reported cases rising each day, quarantines and impeding restrictions have sent consumers rushing to stores to stock up and panic-buy everything from antiseptic wipes to toilet paper to meat, and now cannabis.

While the viral videos of shoppers going rockem socket for Purex and Cottonelle are rampant, far more civil lineups, wrapping around the block, have become the norm as people rush to their local retailers to stock up on their cannabis of choice.

South of the border, in Massachusetts, WGBH reported on the Black Friday-level volume of shoppers seeking to purchase what they can prior to new restrictions kicking in, affecting shopping hours and contributing to even longer wait times. An efficient, latex glove-handled and hand sanitized system for checkout helped maintain a steady flow of customers at New England Treatment Access, in Brookline – one of the few licensed stores in the State.

Sun-soaked in California, delivery services are finding themselves maxed out, as people undergo self-isolation, but still steadily order. California Delivery Alliance (California Cannabis Courier’s Association, CCCA), reported sales spiking across the 200+ licensed delivery services statewide, with Ganja Goddess Delivers reporting a 50% increase in traffic, for example.

With such interest spiking across the U.S., in the legalized states, competition has increased across vendors, as they aim to take advantage of this unexpected, though the possibly temporary, positive outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic. Airfield Supply Co., in San Jose, saw a 100% increase in business following its announcement of free delivery.

This buying frenzy hasn’t just been solely isolated to U.S. brick and mortar stores, and online services, as across the Atlantic, at the current epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, Europe is experiencing the same rush, though with a tad more decorum in place.

Cafes and “coffeeshops” across the Netherlands, for example, have experienced long lines as consumers stocked up and prepared for the nationwide quarantine that went into place over the weekend; currently set to remain in place for the next three weeks.

“I was literally just watching the press conference with my flatmate and then I just went downstairs, and suddenly there’s this queue of like 30 people, and all these cars arriving as well now,” one customer told Yahoo! News.

In Canada the shopping surge hasn’t been as widely felt, but still present.

Ontario Cannabis Store spokesperson Daffyd Roderick says the retailer received almost 3,000 orders on Saturday, an 80-per-cent increase over an average Saturday.

Roderick said the last three days have brought an increase in the volume in sales on and a high demand for same-day and next-day delivery.

The OCS has also noticed that authorized cannabis retail stores are reporting an increase in customer volume.

Societe quebecoise du cannabis says in an email to The Canadian Press that it had also experienced an increase in sales over the last few days, but declined to say how big the spike is.

Both organizations say their cannabis supply is stable and delivery is operating normally.

In another win, this rush to buy the product has given retailers valuable market data and research as many consumers are stocking up on what they most likely will want to double down on while in quarantine. A jump to flower and away from vapes were reported during the height of the vaping crisis, but that has since re-adjusted. Many new consumers are now also turning to products that promote sleep and wellness because hey, dealing with all this will definitely be stressful.