Passed a few weeks ago, the CARES Act provided, among other things, up to $1,200 to the majority of American adult taxpayers. On April 15, millions of Americans received that money via direct deposit into their bank accounts (the rest will receive paper checks over the next few weeks, as reported by The Inquisitr). Also on April 15, cannabis retailers across the country saw a huge spike in sales.
It didn't take long for the industry to put two and two together and determine that customers were spending their stimulus money on cannabis.
Robbie Wroblewski, Director of Community Outreach at Seed & Smith in Colorado, certainly appears to have come to that conclusion.
"There is definitely a correlation with sales over the past week that would certainly point to people using their stimulus check for cannabis," he said.
He said that a normal weekday during the coronavirus pandemic sees about $6,500 come through his business' tills. But on the days immediately following the release of the first round of stimulus money, sales about doubled: $13,000 on Friday, $19,000 on Saturday, $11,000 on Sunday.
Wroblewski also noted a couple of other interesting factors related to the increase in sales. For one thing, some of the customers, most of whom have been locked up at home due to stay-at-home orders, have been self-medicating with alcohol, but that booze is "wearing thin" so they've decided to "test the waters" with cannabis.
Further, Wroblewski notes that much of Colorado's cannabis revenue comes from tourists. Tourism is all but shut down right now, however, so those receipts have to be coming from locals.
"It is all coming from the local community as opposed to tourists, that's a huge indicator that we have been seeing folks spending their stimulus," he said.
Of course, spending one's money at a retail cannabis market in the age of the coronavirus pandemic brings with it its own set of issues. That's because, in most states, "non-essential" businesses have been shuttered. However, as NPR News reports, in states with legal recreational and/or medical marijuana programs, most have deemed the dispensaries essential and have allowed them to stay open.
In Colorado, for example, Governor Jared Polis deemed the dispensaries a "critical industry" and allowed them to stay open. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, however, ordered dispensaries in his city closed. That was followed by panic-buying in dispensaries all across the city, and Hancock later rescinded the order.
In Nevada, by comparison, customers are not allowed to go into retail cannabis shops, and must instead have their cannabis delivered.