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Cannabis Stores Prepare for Coronavirus as Buyers Stock Up on Pot While They Can

By Mark Prvulovic - Mar 15, 2020 at 12:00AM

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Customers are taking fewer trips to dispensaries as COVID-19 continues to spread.

Retail stores across the United States have seen an influx of traffic as Americans seek to stock up on basic supplies. Cannabis retailers have seen a similar trend, with many consumers choosing to make fewer trips to dispensaries, instead opting for larger, less frequent purchases as COVID-19 fears grip the country.

Cannabis businesses have responded to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks with precautions of their own. This includes increasing sanitation standards for employees, giving priority to medical marijuana patients when needed, and postponing grand openings of new stores. Many companies are encouraging buyers to opt for online ordering, drive-by purchases, and home delivery options where possible. 

A person buying some cannabis in a store.

Image source: Getty Images.

PharmaCann, an Illinois-based multistate operator, confirmed that while it intends to continue serving recreational and medical markets, the company would prioritize medical patients ahead of adult-use sales if it comes down to that. Other companies are likely to follow a similar policy.

A tough time for pot stocks

Cannabis companies had a difficult 2019, with major pot stocks tumbling across the board. While some hopeful investors expected that 2020 would be the beginning of a turnaround, the emergence of COVID-19 onto the public scene seems to have dashed those hopes.

Tilray (TLRY) saw its shares tumble around 32% on Friday, although this loss had little to do with COVID-19. Instead, the cannabis giant had issued CA$90.4 million worth of stock at $4.76 per share in an effort to raise money. Even before this announcement, however, Tilray's stock price had plummeted significantly over the past month.

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