2020 was a devastating year for many industries due to COVID 19. The cannabis industry was not one of those industries. In fact, 2020 saw record sales in both mature markets like California and Colorado and in emerging markets such as Ohio and Illinois. A white paper, “The State of the CannabisIndustry: 2020” is available as a free download now, details the markets between wholesalers and retailers and also offers a dispensary perspective and a hiring perspective. The white paper shows a two week spike in cannabis sales in March 2020 as COVID19 stay at home orders started to get in place. Some of that spike was likely from panic buying due to an uncertainty of dispensary access due to the pandemic. But strong sales continued throughout the year even as most states deemed marijuana retailers as essential businesses. Sales stabilized about 4/20 but at a level about 40% higher than in 2019. Along with strong sales, hiring in the retail industry was strong while the restaurant, entertainment and travel industries were decimated.
While traditional use of cannabis for anxiety, depression, insomnia and pain would undoubtedly be strong in a pandemic, a study was published in April 2020 by researchers Olga and Igor Kovalchuck suggesting that a particular strain of cannabis might be able to block the COVID19 virus from entering the body. The couple had been developing and testing marijuana strains for years with the goal of finding strains to treat cancer.
Not only are existing medical patients and recreational users using more product, there are more new medical and recreational users benefiting from the marijuana plant. The variety of strains and products with varying amounts of THC and CBD that can be smoked, vaped, ingested, tinctured or be used topically continues to expand and is making marijuana more and more user friendly. The industry is poised to make 2021 another banner year.
David G. Balter MD
Medical Marijuana Doctor