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How the coronavirus is affecting Sacramento's cannabis industry

"I don't know if it's because school's out or if it's because they're not working. I don't think it's your typical stay-at-home mom [buying weed]," Brown said.


What do toilet paper, hand sanitizer and marijuana have in common? They’re all in high demand and flying off shelves as Sacramentans frantically prepare for home isolation in response to the spread of coronavirus.

Local cannabis retailers say they are experiencing a surge in sales. 

“We’ve had a spike in online orders and more customers,” said Kaydee Perreira, general manager of Nug Sacramento. “I think people are stocking up.”

The surge in cannabis sales in the past week appears to be a consumer reaction to the coronavirus in the same way they’ve stocked up on toilet paper, according to John Schroyer who covers California as a senior reporter for Marijuana Business Daily.

“I’ve spoken to several people who’ve said they had their best sales day [March 16],” Schroyer said.

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Maisha Bahati and Melina Brown co-own Crystal Nugs, a cannabis delivery service based in Sacramento. They said March 16 was their busiest day in business to date.

“We’ve seen an uptick in our online ordering since Friday,” Brown said. “It’s double what we do on a daily basis.”

Bahati and Brown said half of their orders were from new customers. And of those first time customers, many were women.

“I don’t know if it’s because school is out or if it’s because they’re not working,"  Brown said. "I don’t think it’s your typical stay-at-home mom. I think it’s your professional woman who’s now at home."

Bahati said they’re also seeing seniors putting in more orders. 

“I’m not surprised with the ban saying folks over 60 need to stay home. Now delivery is pretty important to them,” Bahati said. “We’ll see how that goes as things go on. If that population is going to increase.” 

Schroyer said the full impact of COVID-19 on the marijuana industry is yet to be determined. But it has changed the way Nug Sacramento operates.

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Perreira said the dispensary is doing more to keep employees and customers safe and healthy. She said they’re encouraging customers to order online to prevent an overflow of people in the dispensary. 

“We’re having people stand six feet apart as they’re lining up outside as well as on the sales floor,” she said. “No more than five customers on the sales floor at one time and we’ve decreased the number of employees on the sales floor.”

Perreira said they’re disinfecting the front desk, registers, and display cases after every fifth customer. Employees are also wearing latex gloves.

Customers who visit Nug Sacramento may also notice there are no more smell pots for them to get a whiff of the aroma of the flower sold in the store.  

“I think in a time like this, the cannabis herb really brings a lot of people comfort in a stressful situation,” Perreira said.



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