When Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts announced that all nonessential businesses must close on Tuesday, he acted as Denver had, allowing medical dispensaries to stay open but not recreational pot shops.
Jackie Subeck, a cannabis industry consultant in Los Angeles, said she planned to restock her personal supply this week, out of concern that California may soon enforce even more restrictions over the coronavirus.
At the same time, she said she is worried the marijuana supply chain might soon dry up, because the masks and gloves that workers in the legal industry are required to wear are now in short supply.
“I want to make sure I have enough to maintain my daily lifestyle,” she said. “For me, it’s more important to have enough cannabis around than alcohol.”
Not surprisingly, black-market pot dealers have also been doing a brisk business during the crisis, and unlike legal sellers, they feel little need to abide by official orders. One dealer in New York City said sales suddenly picked up two weeks ago when residents began to grow more nervous about imminent social distancing restrictions. “People were coming out of the woodwork,” said the dealer, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Chris, to avoid trouble with the police.
He has since sold out of marijuana candies, and said he was constantly getting calls for more weed. Customers no longer like to hang out in his apartment or let him linger during deliveries, he said. And he related how a couple showed up outside his building recently wearing masks and gloves, handed him a box of disinfectant wipes with the cash hidden inside, and drove off after he tossed their order into their car through an open window.
Still, he said, many of his customers have confided that buying marijuana was worth the close contact, if only to relieve their anxiety.