The COVID-19 pandemic flipped the world upside down. People stopped going to work, strict lock-downs were enforced in large cities, and people were left with incredible amounts of free time. This free time allowed people to try new hobbies, explore new interests, and binge watch whatever they wanted.
One of these new interests was cannabis. According to Headset, a data analytics organization, legal cannabis sales rose by 120 percent in 2020, and 61 percent in 2021. Fortune reported that Americans bought $18 billion worth of cannabis in our first year of the coronavirus, $7 billion more compared to the 2019 figures.
I think the reasons behind the spike are pretty obvious at first glance, but there might be more to the story. People were bored and wanted to try new things. Marijuana offered a safe, but thrilling opportunity. Increased accessibility played a huge role. There are currently 37 states allowing medical marijuana and 18 allowing recreational use. Dispensaries gave consumers the confidence that what they were buying was safe and pure. As a result, the cannabis industry became more and more de-stigmatized. Making people who previously steered clear of cannabis, gave cannabis a shot.
The variety of ways to use cannabis also appealed to new users. If someone was apprehensive to smoke, but they still wanted to try cannabis. Edibles, which are well monitored and dosed, offered the perfect opportunity to enter the market. Edibles offered new users an incredibly easy way to slowly up their dosage, safely test their boundaries, and not have to physically inhale smoke. Edible products allowed even the most novice marijuana users to enjoy.
COVID-19 forced people inside, which is where cannabis usage routinely occurs. There are not many sanctioned public safes for legal marijuana usage. At least not like alcohol, where this is a bar at every corner. With people no longer being allowed to go to bars and restaurants, I think people genuinely turned to marijuana. The safety and privacy of people’s homes allowed them to experiment in a safe controlled place, because people literally could not go anywhere else.
Coronavirus unintentionally produced an environment conducive to people experimenting. The lock-down gave people the privacy that is needed to push their boundaries. The rise of legal cannabis gave people a quality product to try, and low dosage edibles offered even beginners the opportunity. As well as, public alcohol consumption no longer being allowed people searched for a replacement. Which is why I believe that this pandemic created a whole new generation of cannabis smokers.
Source: The Guardian
Images: Unsplash (Edwin Hooper), Pexels (Anna Shvetz)