Legal cannabis sales shot up to $17.5B during the pandemic – Business Insider

In this March 22, 2019, file photo, Heather Randazzo, a grow employee at Compassionate Care Foundation’s medical marijuana dispensary, trims leaves off marijuana plants in the company’s grow house in Egg Harbor Township, N.J. AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File The pandemic initially disrupted the legal cannabis industry, but 2020 saw record sales of $17.5 billion. Dispensaries navigated changing regulations and markets to find new ways to reach customers. A cannabis producer in Las Vegas told The New York Times sales in Nevada could top $1 billion in 2021. See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Shortly after Nevada officials announced that licensed cannabis stores and medical dispensaries could reopen after lockdown, Nicolas MacLean said cars were lined up for five blocks waiting for curbside pickup.

Like many industries in Las Vegas, the cannabis industry used to rely on tourists for sales, but that changed when the pandemic hit, MacLean, who serves as the CEO of Las Vegas-based cannabis producer Aether Gardens, told The New York Times.

“Locals are very discerning — they want something they aren’t going to find on the black market,” MacLean said. “Especially when you are stuck at home.”

The year of 2020 saw extraordinarily strong sales of legal cannabis in the US, up 46% from 2019 to a record $17.5 billion, according to cannabinoid market research firm BDSA.

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