420 with CNW – COVID-19 Crisis Triggers Changes in Marijuana Consumer Behavior

April 9, 2020 16:20:46

It’s safe to say the world has never experienced something quite like the Coronavirus pandemic. Three months after appearing in Wuhan, China, the virus has infected more than 1.4 million individuals worldwide and claimed at least 87,000 lives. Countries have had to radically overhaul systems that have been in place for decades to help contain the virus. And many experts say things may not go back to ‘normal’ once the pandemic dies down.

One interesting development with the announcement of lockdowns in various U.S. states was the increased demand for marijuana. Both recreational and medical marijuana dispensaries were seeing increased sales as people stocked up. Soon after, most of the states with legal marijuana programs declared marijuana as essential, thus allowing the industry to keep running during the pandemic.

Although marijuana businesses haven’t been granted access to disaster relief loans, most states have passed emergency measures to allow them to transact with their customers under safer and more hygienic conditions. This includes allowing curbside pickups and home deliveries.

According to Vice, people tend to smoke, drink or eat poorly during times of great stress. Dubbed ‘headlines distress disorder,’ it has led to a surge in the sale of alcoholic beverages during stressful times such as the one we’re currently facing. Headset reports that U.S. adult-use markets have shown an average daily sales increase of 10%.

“Historically, alcohol sales frequently rise during times of economic distress, regional disasters, etc. There is no reason to believe that cannabis sales would be any different and there will likely be a prolonged upswing for the foreseeable future,” says Sue Bachorski, formerly with Constellation Brands for 30 years and currently with the House of Saka.

Data released by Headset as of April 2 shows that the type of cannabis products consumers have been buying has changed. Edibles recorded a 28% increase in sales and cannabis-infused beverages, which previously accounted for only 1% of the market, saw a 14% increase. The Coronavirus attacks the respiratory system, so you would expect consumers to opt out of smoking or vaping cannabis.

“In these uncertain and challenging times, it’s an encouraging silver lining to see cannabis consumers increasingly seeking out infused beverages. There are likely several factors affecting the recent rise in sales, but an important takeaway is that infused beverages are typically designed for individual consumption and can be consumed discreetly,” says Vertosa CEO Ben Larson.

“They are also an approachable, familiar way to consume cannabis for less experienced users and those looking to avoid smoking during this time.”

Experts believe that the cannabis industry, including Round Meadow Holdings Corp. and Sugarmade Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD), is studying these changes in consumer preferences and they will certainly adjust their strategies accordingly.

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