High Times: Coronavirus Pandemic Boosting Recreational Marijuana Sales

Some pot shops are experiencing high times right now, as the stress of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is helping to boost recreational marijuana sales after the burgeoning industry was hit hard by COVID-19.

”It helps with the stress and anxiety and other factors that are going on,” one woman said.

NETA in Brookline Village was closed for more than two months to recreational marijuana sales as transactions dropped 85-percent. Prior to the pandemic, adult-use customers didn’t need an appointment to purchase pot at the dispensary. Now, they do.

“The folks are coming back but just a little bit slower than before,” NETA President Amanda Rositano said. “We’re just seeing less people because of those capacity restrictions as it relates to social distancing and occupancy.”

To date, sales in Massachusetts total more than $430 million for the year. Insiders say overall revenues fell about $150 million when shops closed, representing a loss of $20 to $30 million in state and local tax revenues.

“The tax revenue that legal cannabis has created has been a lifeline for a lot of municipalities,” said David Torrisi, with the Commonwealth Dispensary Association.

Licenses for marijuana dispensaries continue to be issued, and it’s still expected to be $1 billion industry, despite the COVID-19 setbacks.

Customers agree, especially if things keep going the way they are.

“It’s definitely a stress reliever. That’s part of what it does,” a NETA customer said.

While it’s good news that sales are rebounding, there is real concern that a second coronavirus surge could shut everything down again.

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