Marijuana businesses see uptick in sales amid pandemic

As dispensaries continue to adapt to new social distancing policies and stay-at-home orders, consumers are also buying more than normal.

Posted: Apr 1, 2020 6:24 PM
Updated: Apr 1, 2020 7:18 PM

Eugene, Ore. -- Businesses that remain open in the area have had to adjust to a new normal: doing their work as usual but at a distance.

That goes for local cannabis dispensaries as well, who have to balance selling a product that people like to smell or see up close before buying with keeping those same customers at arm's length.

"As far as my shop is concerned, we have six foot from the counter as well as customers staying six feet from each other," said Aaron Zaragoza, who manages Prohibition Falls Dispensary. "There are markers for people to stand."

That distance has been welcome for those practicing social distancing but has changed some fundamental parts of the buying experience.

"One of the big things for buying cannabis a lot of times is smell and looking and as far as that's concerned we can't let people get too close to the product to compromise it," Zaragoza says. "And our signs instruct people on what we're expecting and we do offer curbside now as well."

These changes have allowed some in the public to feel safer with their buying experience but it also has forced shops to get a little more creative in how they handle the point of sale. Whatever the method may be, dispensaries in the area have reported an uptick in sales as pandemic concerns continue to mount and people stay indoors. 

"We definitely did," said Eugene OG manager Jamal Gipson about seeing an increase in business. "I wanna say about a week ago, week and a half ago, we had a huge boom. We definitely had a lot of big days and it's kind of evened out. But we closed our hours a little bit and it's been just as busy all things considered."

Zaragoza has been seeing the same.

"I've seen an increase," he said. "About 15 to 20% in the last three weeks as people's sensitivity to it has rised. Their purchasing hasn't been affected. They're buying more."

While some shops are doing a mix of curbside, carry-out and in-store purchasing, other dispensaries like Eugene OG are moving to a completely carry-out operation. 

"We don't have any customers in the shop anymore at all," mentions Gipson. "And we're doing curbside delivery where customers go online, order stuff and then we'll make it up for them and bring it out pretty easily. We just try to cut down any sort of exposure--our exposure to them and their exposure to us."

This also extends to product vendors, some of whom have downscaled their dropoffs to limit exposure with the dispensary workers themselves. Zaragoza and Gipson said their best-selling products are being restocked at a normal rate, but are also taking individual measures to be able to ensure that the transfer from vendor to seller is handled properly. 

"They're fully gloved, sanitized, we keep our distance," says Aaron Zaragoza. "They can drop a product off, I can receive it, sanitize it. They're going through their whole procedure."

As of right now, marijuana shops remain essential business and most are still open throughout Eugene and Springfield. 

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