By Margot Micallef
The most populous state in the nation, California, is rumbling back to life following more than 400 days of shelter-in-place guidance. With it, nearly 40 million Americans are beginning to cobble together their return to normalcy.
Many businesses that survived the pandemic did so through a series of break-neck pivots – quickly adjusting to the needs of their consumers, and to an ever-changing series of regulations, restrictions, and (occasional) deregulations.
But as California reopens, the cannabis industry must come to terms with one simple reality – the COVID-19 pandemic continues to fundamentally change the needs of many consumers.
Fortunately, both for the industry and the people it serves, California cannabis is primed for another leap forward, but only if the industry is receptive to, and ready to meet the demands of, the post-covid consumer.
How Much Has Really Changed?
To understand the evolving cannabis market, we need to look back at the height of the 2020-2021 pandemic, and it’s important to remember that these are real people facing unique challenges, and not simply statistics.
The Kaiser Family Foundation reports a staggering 273.64% increase in reported Anxiety or Depressive Disorders from 2019 to 2021.
Worker burnout jumped from 42% to 72% during the pandemic, heralding a “Great Resignation,” with more than 4 million people quitting their jobs in April 2021 nationwide.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, as 62% of Americans have made lifestyle-related changes to improve their health during the pandemic.
So what does this tell us?
By reviewing the data (or simply speaking to our friends and family) one thing becomes abundantly clear; the pandemic had a profound impact on our mental and physical well being, and placed a greater importance on health, self-care, and well-earned escapism.