In just a few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended virtually every industry on the planet – and yes, marijuana shops in Seattle were impacted as well.
Stay at home orders designed to keep the public safe have brought entire industries to a screeching halt. Some of the businesses most impacted are movie theaters, restaurants, and bowling alleys.
However, early reports indicate that cannabis stores on the West Coast are experiencing a wide variety of sales scenarios. Some are seeing sales bumps while others are seeing slumps. Others are seeing a mix of both.
Marijuana Shops in Seattle During COVID-19
So what exactly is causing the mixed bag of business? Like any complicated situation, the answer is multifactorial.
First, it’s important to remember that many people use medical marijuana. Cannabis is essential and part of their medication regimen. As people are practicing social distancing or obeying stay-at-home orders, they’re stocking up on the medication they need, and this includes medical cannabis.
According to the CDC, people should have a month’s supply of medication in their homes when possible. With that being said, people are buying their medical marijuana to be able to sustain that month-long supply of medication on hand.
This is resulting in the temporary “bump”.
However when people buy a lot of products at once, that means that they don’t need to get it regularly every week. They’ve purchased enough from a marijuana dispensary in Seattle to last them for a month. This means that those same dispensaries experience a “slump” until the next bump.
It’s similar to the bulk buying that happened with toilet paper when COVID-19 first began. People bought tons and tons of toilet paper, but that much product is going to last you a few weeks. It’s one of those commodities that you don’t have to purchase frequently.
According to Leafly, many Seattle shoppers took the pandemic seriously and stocked up on their cannabis:
“One prepared Seattle shopper said: “I definitely purchased up to my limit in all three major product categories (edibles, flower, concentrate), whereas normally I only hit my concentrate limit (by way of infused pre-rolls). And this choice was solely informed by me wanting to avoid extra trips out of the house.”
Another Seattle shopper said: “I stocked up this week more than usual to the legal lmit at multiple dispensaries but the dispensaries (Zips and The Reef) were actually all pretty empty with no lines.”
Another factor to consider is the economic impact that COVID-19 has had on not only the Seattle weed market, but the entire country. As of this writing, 40 million people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Workers who have been laid off or furloughed might be less inclined to go to a recreational dispensary in Seattle.
Most people who are able to work from home are still working from home. An analysis of mass transit in Seattle reveals that the number of riders is probably 50 percent of its usual capacity. Some observers note that it could be even less.
Fewer people going into downtown Seattle also means that there are going to be fewer people going into local businesses, including weed stores.
Finally, another factor to consider is COVID-19’s impact on tourism. For the most part, people are only flying for business or unless they have to. Of course, there are always a few outliers, but those are far and few between. Seattle is a hotspot tourist destination for many reasons. And yes, some people even come here specifically for the weed.
With tourism down significantly, this has also resulted in decreased marijuana revenue that would have come from tourists.
COVID-19 Is Leading to Marijuana Deals and Sales in Seattle
To boost sales, are running special deals and promos! This means that savvy shoppers can get fully stocked and still save a considerable amount of money.
These sales are benefiting both consumers and the shops themselves. While consumers are dealing with the economic fallout of COVID-19, they can purchase the same amount of cannabis without breaking the bank. Meanwhile, the shops are able to drive up sales and prevent them from slumping for too long.
It is estimated that legal cannabis is a $10.73 billion industry in the United States alone. Just like any other product, there’s a massive supply chain and a lot of components that power approximately 243,700 jobs. Getting sales back to normal is critical to ensuring that the industry remains healthy and is able to grow.
Dispensaries are utilizing new techniques to draw customers and maintain business. For example, users can order online and then pick up the product in person. Shops are also encouraging people to avoid touching products in the stores to maintain cleanliness.
Leafly also confirms that these sales appear to be working:
“California dispensary operator Debby Goldsberry at Magnolia, Oakland has an 18-page coronavirus plan that includes a flash sale to blow out stock and get cash in the door, rather than having products sit in a closed store for a month.
“Traffic is normal right now. We’ll do a flash sale if it looks like things are going to close,” she told Leafly on Friday.”
All over the West Coast, from California to Seattle, shops are running sales to get the attention of their customers. If you’re looking for a good deal, now is the time to keep your eyes peeled.
Chances it’ll be months until things are back to “normal,” so until then, be sure to buy responsibly and to observe safety measures when possible!