The pandemic has been rough on plenty of industries – hospitality, travel, retail . . . all have taken a considerable hit with various stay at home orders and essential business mandates. Meanwhile, the cannabis industry has experienced a boost, and the industry will most likely emerge stronger post-COVID.
In other words, good news lies ahead for the post-pandemic cannabis industry.
Cannabis sales boomed at the start of the pandemic, with some states, like Oregon, reporting record sales. Record-breaking sales continued, and a recent report from LeafLink, Flowhub, and Vangst found that nationwide cannabis sales are not only stable but at a rate 40 percent higher than in 2019.
During the 2020 election, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota legalized recreational cannabis, and medical marijuana is growing. Three million people have enrolled in home state medical marijuana programs. This benchmark was hit for the first time in August 2020.
Continued legalization equals opportunity. Industry experts project a $34 billion U.S. cannabis market by 2025. The growing popularity of cannabis is gradually shifting perceptions of the plant. Combine that with decriminalization, social equity programs, and a robust tax revenue source, and you have a growing industry.
For an industry used to dealing with adjusting business models to meet regulatory requirements, changing business processes during the pandemic showed people just how resilient cannabis business owners really are. With cannabis businesses deemed essential during the stay at home orders, many dispensaries flipped their sales strategies to meet new social distancing requirements.
The report indicated that more than half of dispensaries moved to a delivery strategy. Almost half (43 percent) bumped up their digital marketing and e-commerce strategies, which virtually met customers where they were (at home). Additionally, 79 percent of dispensaries started offering curbside pickup and delivery services.
Overall, as 2020 comes to a close, the cannabis industry will continue on a high note in 2021. Cannabis entrepreneurs have seen not just the opportunities the sector provides but its ability to weather global disturbances. As additional states legalize, savvy investors have taken notice, looking for those investments to generate further innovations in supply chain development and e-commerce.