Marijuana Sales in Oregon Keep “Getting Higher” During Pandemic

While thousands of people have been laid off from jobs and the economy tries to dig its way out of the coronavirus hole, there’s one industry that just can’t keep stock on the shelves – recreational cannabis.   

According to an article from OregonLive, the numbers from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the agency which regulates marijuana sales, show sales continuing to climb throughout spring and summer. The increases started in March, when the state mandated a lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

The same article sites that total sales were 30% higher in March than the previous year for a total of $84.5 million, which jumped to $89.7 million in April – a 44% increase from 2019. Some retailers were concerned that the increase would only be temporary, but those fears were put to bed in May when sales skyrocketed to $103 million, and held firm for June and July.  

Not only are these sales great for those in the cannabis business, but it meant serious tax revenue for the state – over $49.5 million from March to June.  

OregonLive interviewed Peak Extracts CEO Katie Stem. The company is based in Portland and distributes hemp nationwide as well as a variety of other products throughout Oregon. Stem says that consumers are buying more of the less expensive products like cannabis flower instead of edibles and tinctures.   

While bigger companies are raking in the cash, Stem admits that smaller businesses are suffering. She believes it has to do with the ability for companies to adapt quickly to various safety protocols and access to delivery and pickup options.   

“Our Accounts that offer one or both of those things are dominating our sales, that was something that we sort of predicted would happen.” Stem said in her interview with Oregon Live.  

Also interviewed was Jeff Yapp, CEO of Golden Leaf Holdings which runs Chalice Farms. He agreed with Stem and credits his company’s success to their ability to adapt.   

“We’re a relatively large company but we moved really quickly, I don’t think we skipped a beat,” Yapp said.  

Stem also cited the overall anxiety in the world as a great indicator that cannabis sales will continue to do well. She believes that cannabis is truly helping people deal with the stress of all the changes, and Yapp adds that many people are using it as a way to move away from pharmaceutical options.   

“This is a time of heightened anxiety,” Stem said, “[Cannabis] is kind of ideal for what all of us are going through right now.”  

By Kyra Blank