SEATTLE – Cannabis analytics firm Headset this week released a report providing a week-to-week overview, beginning from March 9, that analyzes legal cannabis sales during COVID-19. The company is carefully tracking sales statistics as the industry continues to navigate uncharted territory amid the coronavirus pandemic and plans to update its report over the next four weeks to provide ongoing analysis.
With the introduction or expansion of many states’ legal cannabis programs over the last several years—a period of economic prosperity in the United States—the industry is facing a challenge it has never before experienced.
“Adult-use cannabis was first legalized in [Washington state] and [Colorado] in 2014 and since has not yet experienced a negative business cycle,” Headset said. “Recent weeks are the first test of this new consumer segment in a period of high unemployment and negative economic trends.
“As the realities of our changing world have set in we are beginning to understand how cannabis consumption is impacted in uncertain times,” the company continued.
By March 16, both the U.S. federal government and state governments began introducing stay at home orders. According to Headset, this is when consumers started to show concern about access to cannabis, resulting in a peak in sales in most markets.
Edibles sales in particular saw an increase, likely due to concerns that smokeable cannabis products could be particularly harmful as COVID-19’s respiratory symptoms became known.
Headset also found that in markets such as Nevada and Colorado, which rely heavily on cannabis tourism, sales volumes have declined since the implementation of shelter in place orders.
Although sales trends became difficult to predict once the virus started spreading throughout the United States, it seems one reliable trend from years past held steady. Cannabis sales, nationwide, surged on April 15 in what seemed to likely be preparation for the 4/20 holiday. This also could have coincided with the first federal stimulus checks being issued, providing Americans with extra buying power.
Headset believes its weekly reports will be critical during what is sure to be one of the hardest to predict market environments for the cannabis industry.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a dynamic and shifting cannabis retail landscape,” said Cy Scott, founder and chief executive officer at Headset. “We felt the best way we could help our clients was to provide them with a better understanding.”
Headset relied on sales data from over 1,000 retailers across five U.S. states (California, Colorado, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon) and three Canadian provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario) to compile its report.