Countless businesses have permanently closed their doors over the past few months due to COVID-19, though certain sectors of the economy have remained vibrant despite the economic shutdown imposed to thwart the spread of the virus. The cannabis industry, for instance, has continued to show high levels of growth despite massive changes to consumer behavior since COVID-19 became the grim reality that most people around the world were forced to grapple with in their daily lives. Still, some of the changes to the cannabis industry wrought by the coronavirus remain worthy of discussion. 

Here’s a review of how COVID-19 has impacted the cannabis industry, which sectors are thriving, and how investors and consumers are responding to this shutdown.

Recreational spending remains strong

When the economy shut down in order to prevent the in-person transmission of COVID-19, countless businesses found themselves in a financially perilous situation. Restaurants and other companies that relied on face-to-face interaction were quickly finding themselves bankrupt. Other sectors of the economy managed to survive and even thrive, however, and recreational spending on certain things such as alcohol and cannabis actually saw upticks in many areas. The retail marijuana market is growing so quickly despite the public health pandemic that it recently spurred High Times to make a mammoth $80 million dollar deal to further entrench itself in the industry. 

High Times took over 13 dispensaries previously owned by Harvest Health, one of the largest names in the American marijuana marketplace. This bold decision was likely motivated by the fact that many consumers are dealing with the extra time and stress they’re currently faced with by lighting up. The month of May saw surprisingly resilient numbers when it came to adult consumption of marijuana levels, and we can expect these numbers to remain fairly positive for the foreseeable future. Despite the fact that COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, many marijuana users are reacting to the stress of the current moment by relying on an old, familiar friend. 

Those who predicted the death of dispensaries and marijuana seed banks during the early days of the pandemic were thus jumping the gun. Consumers and investors alike remain confident in the marijuana sector, though the stock performance of specific brands continues to vary on a wide basis for a number of reasons. 

Medical marijuana is changing

Recreational marijuana isn’t the only thing that’s benefited from the pandemic. Medicinal marijuana continues to be in high demand, too, though the public health crisis is forcing medicinal marijauna providers to make some changes in order to rigorously maintain health and hygiene standards. According to one report about medical dispensaries in the state of Ohio, many of these facilities are taking more orders over the phone than ever before. Curb-side pickup is also taking off like never before, as this helps cannabis professionals provide their customers with much-needed goodies without too much face-to-face interaction. 

It’s pretty amazing that marijuana, which remained a cultural boogie man just a decade or so ago, is now deemed essential to the modern economy. This shows har far the industry has come, and how far it may yet grow – literally.

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