Los Angeles – Facing isolation and rising stress because of the novel coronavirus, Californians are buying more cannabis products, especially for home delivery.
The state, which legalized recreational cannabis in 2016, has imposed a stay-at-home order to prevent the virus’ spread, and many people fear going out because of the infection risk.
As a result, cannabis sales for delivery are booming.
“It is a lot of trying to quell the anxieties, stress, stuff like that, helping (them to) sleep at night,” said Alex Brown, a 27-year-old delivery driver for The Pottery, a cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles.
“People just don’t really have too much to do so… from a recreational standpoint, (marijuana) can kind of make the day go by a bit quicker and a bit more interesting,” he added.
Last month, as the coronavirus lockdowns went into effect, sales of recreational cannabis across key U.S. markets, including California, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska, were up almost 50% from the same period last year, according to cannabis point of sale and data platform Flowhub.
“Most of it is just to help relieve anxiety and sort of to take the place of a bottle of wine or a beer,” said Patty Pappas, a 54-year-old customer in the affluent Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, who received an order of cannabis tonics and topical cream.
“I have three kids home from college so it is stressful… My husband is working from home, so it is a rollercoaster,” she added.
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Kyle Kazan, chief executive of The Glass House Group, which owns four dispensaries in Southern California, said delivery orders have more than doubled.
“More and more people, because they are trying to stay home and social distance as opposed to coming to the store… they’ve just decided to order from home,” he said.
Kazan said although sales of cannabis flower have remained steady, sales of edibles such as gummies, brownies and chocolates are becoming increasingly popular, probably because they are easier to store and tend to last longer.
By Alan Devall, Omar Younis and Cynthia Osterman