4/20 Uncertainty: Marijuana Industry Tested In Virus Crisis

Apr 20, 2020

Legal marijuana has become established in some form into all but a handful of states, but the industry faces a challenge as the economy falters amid the coronavirus crisis.

In this Thu, April 16, 2020, photo, wearing a protective mask and gloves, budtenders prepare orders for customers to pick-up at The Higher Path cannabis dispensary in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles.
Credit AP Photo/Richard Vogel

The unofficial holiday celebrating cannabis culture on Monday, known as 4/20, arrived with widespread uncertainty about the direction of the market as unemployment lines grow and consumers find themselves short on cash. The 4/20 holiday would usually be marked with outdoor festivals and communal smoking sessions, but this year, stay-at-home orders have moved the party online. Sales soared at the start of lockdowns in March but business generally has flattened or tapered off since then, though some sellers are reporting boosts as government assistance checks reach consumers.

Arizona voterts approved the Medical Marijuana Act in 2010 and now several dozen dispensaries operate in the state.