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Written by Sheena Beronio

Canada – Ontario and Alberta cannabis stores experienced an “unprecedented demand” of products amidst the country’s fight to contain the coronavirus pandemic or the COVID-19 outbreak, according to industry sources.

As per Marijuana Business Daily sources, the growing pandemic doesn’t seem to affect the supply chains at the moment. However, Canadian stores are at their peak of implementing safety measures for their employees and customers.

Darren Bondar of Spiritleaf said that their 46 stores “experienced an unprecedented demand for cannabis over the weekend with sales up 20% over the previous one and a record number of customers served.”

He added that “the supply chain remains in place, stores are stocked, and we have seen an uptick in edible purchases.” 

What drove the unprecedented demand in cannabis sales at this time?

Like the Spiritleaf, the convenience of ordering online and door to door delivery in the cannabis industry adds to the constant surge of sales. Spiritleaf encourages online ordering as a precautionary measure from human engagement and contact. The said brand has fully operational stores located in key cities such as British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.

The convenience of online monopoly doesn’t only benefit Spiritleaf. It also means good business for most cannabis stores. In Canada, most of its provinces have successfully retained their business sales under the convenience of cannabis e-commerce and delivery systems. Cannabis private stores operate on a click-and-collect program as well.

Cannabis sales surge soared high week by week on Ontario’s cannabis online businesses. The surge could be a disguised hoarding activity due to the pandemic, but for most, some of the surges could be due to the simultaneous lowering of cannabis prices. Even government-owned stores started lowering their cannabis product prices as a way to roll with the increasingly competitive cannabis industry at this time.

Mike Ravkine of WhatsMyPot, a price-tracking and inventory tool, reported some significant price drops in cannabis stores located in Ontario.

Increasing cannabis demand on several Canadian brands

OCS Communications Director, Daffyd Roderick in an email to Marijuana Business Daily, said that “the last three days have seen a marked increase in volume in sales on OCS.ca and a high demand for our same day/next day delivery option where it is available.” 

He further expressed that there is an increasing customer volume for cannabis. “Some authorized retail stores are also reporting an increase in customer volume. Saturday saw almost 3,000 orders, an 80% increase over an average Saturday.”

Roderick is confident that OCS will meet the demand surge. “We are working closely with our partners and currently delivering and receiving as per our normal schedule,” he said.

Steven Fry of Sessions Cannabis noted that despite these trying times, their physical stores in Ontario had increased orders.

In an email, he wrote, “not unlike major grocery retailers, Sessions Cannabis has seen a significant increase in sales this week due to growing concerns regarding COVID-19 social distancing protocols.” 

Sessions Cannabis beach location in Toronto experienced a 10% increase in daily transactions, a 10% increase in dollars spent per transaction, and a 21% increase in sales, as per Fry in an email to Marijuana Business Daily.

Quebec also saw an increase in cannabis sales in their online stores. A cannabis wholesaler called the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) with a fully operational cannabis website has a steady influx of orders and product deliveries.

On a different note, one of British Columbia’s online stores, BC Cannabis, didn’t see any new sales trend. The BC spokesperson attested to the flat and steady cannabis sales of their BC Liquor Distribution Branch.