Coronavirus COVID-19 causing a run on grocery stores, liquor stores and dispensaries

Coronavirus COVID-19 causing a run on grocery stores, liquor stores and dispensaries

CannaBlog by Jim Marty, CPA, CEO and Founder of

Bridge West CPAs and Advisors to the Cannabis Industry

March 16, 2020



I write this blog while under self-imposed quarantine at home.  After weeks of heavy travel, I am happy not to be on the road.  Here are some observations from clients I spoke with over the last few days.

The run on shopping at grocery stores and liquor stores is extending to dispensaries.  One large client in Illinois said they are having record days. Other Bridge West clients around the country are experiencing similar spikes in sales. Cannabis customers and medical marijuana patients are stocking up for the potential of long stays at home.

What does the current COVID-19 virus scare mean for the U.S. cannabis industry?  Here are some observations:

The changes and challenges that are coming relate to two interwoven issues, product supply and labor.

It is clear that demand will spike so cultivation and harvesting operations need to continue.  Medical patients will need their medical marijuana, adult use will be strong as it appears, and we will all be getting an unplanned two week stay at home.

There is no way to stop the plants currently being cultivated from growing.  They need attention every day, nutrients need to be added and they need to be watered.  Harvests need to continue to save the inventory and meet demand. New baby clones need to be planted to meet future demand.

This brings us to the other issue facing the cannabis Industry during the COVID-19 crisis, labor.  Some employees will not want to come to work for fear of contagious transmission of the virus.  Others will be willing to come to work.  Try to get surgical mask for cultivation and retail employees.  Disinfectants and sanitizers should be sprayed on counters and other surfaces that people touch.

There is no doubt that there will be a labor shortage in the next few weeks and cannabis businesses will have to learn to cope.  This is a good chance to make your operation more efficient by learning to do the same work with less people.  One upside is this industry has a young demographic of workers who seem less prone to getting the COVID-19 virus.

By using common sense and good business planning the cannabis industry can meet the market demand for products and emerge from this crisis stronger and more efficient.

Be safe and stay tuned.