These are unprecedented times, and the cannabis industry is in a unique position.  As we continue to navigate our way through the pandemic, industry leaders like Vangst, Flowhub and LeafLink have been working together to compile data on how the pandemic has impacted the cannabis industry.  They released a report in August titled, “The State of the Cannabis Industry 2020: Cannabis, COVID-19 and Beyond.”

The cannabis industry is a glowing beacon in a depressed economy and continues to grow at a prospering rate.  For those that are seeking a career change or who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, the cannabis industry could be a worthwhile opportunity. Likewise, current data spells good news for producers and dispensaries.

Here are some of the report’s key highlights:

● The industry’s 2020 growth is eclipsing that of 2019. Flowhub and LeafLink data show that compared with 2019, the industry has grown significantly faster this year.

● Hiring already is on the rebound. Many companies laid off employees both temporarily and permanently, but the forecast has bounced back this quarter, and quality Q3 and Q4 recruitment will be the key to success in 2020.

● Business innovation has led to growth, despite the times. In many key LeafLink markets, over 50 percent of retailers purchased more after COVID-19 struck than they did during the beginning of the year. Wholesale sales jumped more than 54 percent between January and June.

While the cannabis industry is thriving, all of it should be taken with a grain of salt as the industry is different from what it was before the Coronavirus Pandemic.  For example, retailers are placing big orders less often.  Given the vast uncertainty of current times, it would make sense to focus on the immediate future rather than down the road as forecasting conditions are challenging given the pandemic.  Executive jobs in the cannabis industry have also been on the decline, but the need for marketing and sales talent is growing exponentially.

Another positive trend for cannabis producers is that the cannabis consumer base is growing both online and in-person, even while other industries have nose-dived.  People from all walks of life are turning to cannabis for both medical and recreational use.   Millennials and Gen X are leading the way, but the other generations shouldn’t be ignored.  All have a significant opportunity to be key customers.

In order to provide safe shopping for customers, more dispensaries are providing options to reduce in-person interaction, such as delivery, online ordering and curbside pickup.  Another non-contact option that is picking up steam is automated vending which is made by Greenstop who launched a self-service cannabis vending machine in California.  Each kiosk can handle four customers at one time and works as a self-serve sales point for consumers who prefer a quick sale.

Unlike many industries who are buckling up for a rough road ahead, the cannabis industry seems to be in an ideal position.  Although with the next U.S. Presidential election happening in the next couple of months, it’s possible to see the cannabis industry take another turn.  Only time will tell.

 For more Cannabis industry news, trends, technology, and research, check out the official Ispire blog.