With more than 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada as of Thursday, March 19th, COVID-19 has officially surpassed the late SARS epidemic of 2003 in terms of number of Canadians affected. Government officials have urged Canadians in foreign countries to return home before the airports shut down and are putting major community events and facilities to a halt one by one. First universities, then malls, then restaurants. For those of us cannabis enthusiasts and full-time stoners spectating all of this going down – what is to come for our hobby? How will COVID-19 affect the marijuana industry?

COVID-19 Causing Fear for Cannabis Shortage

One thing we have observed across the industry that took effect since late last week – there has been a massive influx of demand for vape pens and fresh greens. At first glance, this combination may seem pretty surprising as vape pens is a non-perishable way to consume cannabis while marijuana bud expires eventually, even under the most ideal storage conditions. However, with the weather steadily warming up and Summer on its way, the marijuana harvested and purchased now will likely last its owners until the end of Summer, given they are stored in the shade and away from humid situations.

Like the situation with toilet paper rolls and hand sanitizer racks at local grocery stores, fresh, high quality weed is getting scarcer to find. Unlike the daily-use products visible on shelves, customers have no way of telling how many ounces or bags of quad weed there are left in stock. Once they’re out, they’re out.

Stockpiles of Marijuana Readily Available? Unlikely

Unlike toilet papers or other hygiene products that are cheap and often bought in bulks, cannabis users usually purchase just enough for themselves before restocking on the newest strains and vape pens. Additionally, since the legalization of Cannabis in October 2018, a vast amount of online dispensaries have been popping up, increasing competition in the industry. This change has caused many common strains such as Death Bubba and Girl Scout Cookies to become a commodity product, differentiated only by service and reputation of the carrier.
For the average consumer, this is great news, as weed is now cheaper than ever before and much easier to get a hold off. However, with so many different places to shop from at a few clicks away, consumers never had the need to stockpile on their cannabis supplies. Now, with COVID-19 paralyzing many economical and social activities, they’re scrambling to order enough to get them through the storm.

It’s Not Time to Panic Yet

While the situation is looking more dire by the day, we would like to advise you that it isn’t time to panic yet. Unless you run a shop or are a reseller yourself, there’s a very high chance that there will be enough weed to go around for everyone.

Let’s make a fictional example and say the World Health Organization (WHO) does not come up with a vaccine until the end of May. By then, regardless of whether a vaccine is made, the weather would have warmed up, causing the virus to subside. Businesses will return to operating at a similar capacity as they were prior to the pandemic, though not at full scale. With that said, farmers will have an easier time compared to other professions, as much of their work “automates” itself. As long as they’ve attended to their operations in the months leading to and during the COVID-19 outbreak, their crops can still be harvested and reaped.

In this case, marijuana is no exception. By Summertime, a new wave of marijuana products would begin trickling in, rehabilitating the empty virtual shelves of online dispensaries.

At a Time Like This, Quality is Still King

Now that we’ve established that the cannabis situation isn’t as bad as projected, we sincerely advise our readers to not cruise the internet in a panic and purchase every ounce of weed available. At a time like this, unless the circumstance changes (ie. virus mutates), the shortage of marijuana will not be as serious as projections indicate. Sure, it might become harder to find that rare strain you always rock but strains similar in taste or effect will still be purchasable.

With that said, when you are purchasing marijuana online from mail order dispensaries, it is important to still take the quality of the product and reputation of the dealer into consideration. The worst thing to have happen at a time like this is to order weed from a shady dealer for AAAA prices just to receive some stems and seeds.

In Conclusion: Shop Smarter, Not Harder

At Bud Lab, we are hyperaware of the COVID-19 situation, and aim to deliver you the most up-to-date news regarding the virus’ effect on cannabis. We pride ourselves in always taking the necessary steps in preventing the virus from spreading, whether that’s in our harvesting, packaging, or shipping process. If you would like to read more, consider subscribing our newsletter to receive updates on the situation, new product restocks, or promotional sales.

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