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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Recreational marijuana is one industry that has not seen a downturn during the COVID-19 pandemic. People have spent over $239 million on the newly legal drug so far this year. Some experts say that legal cannabis and CBD may be people’s way of dealing with the stress of living through a health crisis.

Will Pederson is one of five co-owners of Planet 3. The company sells hemp and CBD products.

“There’s a real need for it, it’s the stress, the anxiety, some depression, the sleepless nights that people are dealing with and they want to turn to something that’s a natural supplement,” Pederson explained.

KP Counseling Director of Addiction Services Pat Spangler says he has also seen a rise in people using cannabis.

“The legalization hit and then COVID hit so it’s hard to tell which is which but the two combined together for certain.. skyrocketing you can just drive by and see the lines,” Spangler said.

Spangler added that it has been non-stop with clients battling depression, stress, and anxiety due to the pandemic. He said it is important that people find the best coping mechanism that suits them.

“A lot of people have lost their distractions whether it be work or hobbies or travel or kids sports or whatever it may be so normally things they don’t get to think about they think about it can create anxiety,” Spangler added.

“CBD is one of those natural supplements that does help the body calm and relax it provides better sleep it’s an antidepressant, it’s an anti-anxiety natural supplement,” said Pederson.

Planet 3 only sells hemp and CBD products, which don’t contain THC–the mind-altering chemical in cannabis. Shop owners say people choose to go to them because they want to use organic and natural supplements.

“It’s become more popular it’s definitely in the mainstream now and it’s in so many products,” Pederson added.

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