All recreational and medical marijuana dispensaries must close their storefronts per the emergency declaration issued by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Friday.
Dispensaries will be required to shut down all public store fronts by midnight Friday despite the surge in purchases. Legal cannabis sales will continue but will be available by delivery only.
Nationwide, marijuana sales are up about 30 percent, according to BDS analytics CEO Roy Bingham.
“The spike in sales that we saw is similar to what we see for a holiday like 4/20,” said Bingham, referring to the global celebration of marijuana each year on April 20. “That’s the biggest holiday of the year (for dispensaries).”
Bingham said the next few weeks will be a true test of supply for Nevada’s marijuana industry. While there has been a significant increase in deliveries nationwide, Bingham said it’s unclear whether that increase will continue as people self-isolate.
“I think the big concern for everyone in the cannabis industry is that this is a short term blip and then we will see a deterioration of the market. While there’s a pickup in sales, it’ll be interesting to see if the demand slacks off,” Bingham said.
In the past week, there has been an influx of consumers, and also the amount that they are buying, said Sol Cannabis owner Ed Alexander.
The argument to keep the industry open is to provide medicine for patients facing serious illnesses such as cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I’ve been telling all my medical patients to get their products delivered,” Alexander said.
To address any increase in demand for delivery services, the Marijuana Enforcement Division has implemented new virtual delivery vehicle inspection procedures to allow cannabis licensees to meet any increase in market demand for cannabis delivery. Officials will be inspecting vehicles with 360-degree video to inspect new vehicles, state officials said.
The state currently has 38 dispensaries that provide delivery services, according to taxation officials, but the new temporary procedure approving new delivery vehicles will allow all dispensaries to deliver their own product. The vehicles approved will only receive a 60-day license for deliveries.
Curbside pickup of marijuana products will not be permitted, according to a Friday news release from the Nevada Department of Taxation.
Cultivation facilities, production facilities, distributors, and independent testing facilities will be allowed to continue operations while following strict social distancing guidelines as part of the necessary cannabis supply chain operations.
Jenny Kane covers arts and culture in Northern Nevada, as well as the dynamic relationship between the state and the growing Burning Man community. She also covers the state’s burgeoning cannabis industry (Check out her podcast, the Potcast, on iTunes.) Support her work in Reno by subscribing to RGJ.com right here.
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