Marijuana Sales, COVID-19 & Unemployment

For many people, 2020 was set to be an awesome year and there were many jokes about having a clear 20/20 vision of the future. 2019 was a horrible year to many and there was a sentiment that once it was over we could get past the worst year in all of our lives. However, as 2019 came to an end there were signs that the bad times were just beginning and that 2020 would be no cakewalk for us. It began with massive wildfires decimating the Australian outback and then carried on to the possible outbreak of WW3 in the Middle East. More frightening than both of those was the emergence of a disease that has impacted every person on this planet and has changed our lives forever.

A Fractured Economy

COVID-19 kind of came out of nowhere for all of us. One day it wasn’t there and then one day it was. We all kind of wished it would stay in its part of the world and not come any closer. We watched on our screens with horror as it crept across the entire planet, finding its way right into our backyards. For many, this was a completely new experience watching the entire world shut down. As many services were deemed non-essential they were ordered to suspend operations until the threat of the virus had left us. Seemingly overnight, many millions of people lost their jobs leading to a spike in unemployment. In the United States, pre-coronavirus unemployment levels were about 3.8%, the lowest since the end of WW2. After the lockdown unemployment rates skyrocketed to a height of 14.4% across the nation, the highest levels seen since the Great Depression (24.9%), by far outpacing the 10.6% we saw as a result of the 2008 Recession.

The Government is Helping!

The US government in its infinite wisdom decided that they could help us out a bit during these troubling times. It is our money they work with after all. It was determined that most Americans would get a one-time payout of $1200 to help keep the economy afloat. Those finding themselves out of a job due to COVID would get $600 extra per week in unemployment benefits. For many, these were viewed as a godsend as they helped with necessities and bills that would keep us alive during a pandemic. However, in July, these payments stopped leading many to wonder just how they are going to survive especially with winter approaching. While there is talk of a second stimulus, there is nothing concrete at this time and likely won’t be until after the election.

Marijuana Sales During COVID

While many industries have taken major hits during this crisis, one that seems to be doing relatively well is the cannabis industry. Despite no more stimulus checks and the cancellation of increased unemployment benefits, the sales of pot products have remained steady. In fact, at the beginning of the pandemic sales in California were up 160% when compared to the same day a year before. In Colorado, they were up 46%, and in Washington 100%. This is thought to be that many people were turning to weed as a comfort product. Something to keep them occupied while at home waiting for the worst of this crisis to pass. In times of economic strife, other comfort products such as alcohol see a spike in sales so many are inclined to believe the same for pot. However, many attributed this to panic buying very much like toilet paper at the beginning of this mess to ensure enough to get through.

Weed Is A Useful Tool

Despite the initial burst at the beginning of the pandemic, sales have pretty much remained consistent across legal states. Fears that this massive uptick was due to panic buying have largely been put to bed when reviewing sales after the most recent harvest. Some companies were getting up to $1700 per pound 11% more than the national average of $1525 per pound of cannabis. Even in the face of massive unemployment and no more government help in the form of stimulus money pot sales have stayed strong. Weed has become a useful tool for the average person to help cope with an uncertain and scary world ransacked by a deadly virus. With fewer opportunities to entertain ourselves outside of the home, people have shifted their spending on activities that are meant to be done at home. For many, this includes using marijuana at home, as one of those activities.

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