Medical Cannabis Sales Soar in Pennsylvania Amid COVID-19

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the United States hasn't hampered cannabis sales, but rather, sales have seen a substantial increase during this period of general economic downturn.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdowns that have followed, unemployment in the United States has nearly tripled, reaching record highs 14.70 percent in April of 2020. Many predict that countries across the globe have entered into a recession unlike any seen in recent history.

Despite this, however, the cannabis industry has not only survived but in fact thrived in the United States, with Pennsylvania being no exception.

Since February, Pennsylvania's patient visits to cannabis dispensaries have risen by 70%, up from 70,000 per week to 120,000 per week in August, with retail sales also seeing an enormous uptick.

"Since the last time we met, on February 13th, the market has doubled in size," John J. Collins, the Director of PA's Office of Medical Marijuana, said. "We're now at $1.3 billion."

In the past six months alone, dispensaries in Pennsylvania have sold as much cannabis as they had in the entire previous two years that preceded it. Patients bought roughly $385 million in legal marijuana products from the state's 89 cannabis dispensaries over the period.

Many speculate that cannabis's success amid the COVID-19 crisis and accompanying lockdowns is a result of several combined phenomena: high unemployment and anxiety which lead to a greater demand for cannabinoid medicines, and increased welfare benefits during the economic downturn giving citizens a means to acquire cannabis products. Additionally, many stores are implementing delivery services, making cannabis and cannabinoid products even more accessible to qualifying adults.

Furthermore, on the 31st of July, the PA Department of Health tweeted out that "Effective July 30, 2020, medical marijuana patients no longer need to renew their registration in order to maintain participation in the Medical Marijuana Program."

The most prominent symptoms for which people are prescribed cannabis products are chronic pain and anxiety, followed by PTSD in third.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.

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