Legal marijuana sales peak in five US states in a period of social distancing.

As Americans prepare for a quarantine after governments issued a statewide shelter-in-place that is set to continue amid the COVID19 outbreak, many are heading to stores and dispensaries to get all their essentials: toilet paper, canned foods, water, and… marihuana?

According to data by cannabis analytics company Headset, sales in Colorado, Oregon, California, Washington state and Nevada spiked during last week as well as the average order. Just in California, marijuana orders and deliveries were up 38% last week compared to the annual average, according to the Associated Press. Oorders from first-time customers also jumped 50%. During last weekend –Friday 3/13/2020 through Sunday 3/15/2020– recreational cannabis sales greatly increased in comparison to the previous four weekends, likely due consumers wanting to ‘stock up’ before a period of social distancing / self quarantine.

WGBH reporting also showed that some Massachusetts residents were already stocking up on pot to make it through a potential extended self-quarantine period. In Brookline, marijuana dispensary New England Treatment Access has eliminated all walk-in orders due to a high volume of customers, and will now only serve customers who place orders in advance. Medical marijuana dispensaries in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are also considered “essential businesses,” akin to pharmacies, and are not required to close, just like in California and other US states.

Across the peak of all five states, both genders saw significant increases in cannabis spending, but females had more than double the sales growth of males. Headset had previously reported that males make up roughly two thirds of cannabis spending on any given day, therefore, it could be speculated that females were less likely to have cannabis products on hand and more likely to feel a sense of urgency to stock up.

In Canada (looking at private retail in BC and AB) the report found that inventory levels also rapidly declined with average inventory coverage at about 5.8 weeks pre-crisis and 3.1 today. With hard to find Edibles and Beverages being the most likely to see inventory depletions.