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Marijuana sales may have been immune to the coronavirus pandemic, but it certainly wasn’t in the headlines this year. Looking back on our favorite 2020 stories, we found breaking news of public health orders and pharmacy closings, reports of federal stimulus controls that boosted weed sales, and observations by budget tenders of their work during COVOD- 19 concerns.
Outside of the pandemic, however, there was marijuana news and readers became aware of it. Stories about the history of the pot shop and information about new brands also attracted interest this year, as did business stories announcing major acquisitions of well-known pharmacy chains.
Here are Westword’s top ten most-read marijuana stories from 2020:
As part of a citywide order to limit the spread of the coronavirus in the early days of the pandemic, Mayor Michael Hancock’s government announced on March 23 that marijuana dispensaries and liquor stores would be among the businesses that will close that day and remain closed for over two weeks to discourage large gatherings of people. What did people do immediately after the announcement? Gather in large groups for marijuana and booze. The city’s interpretation of Hancock’s original Executive Order was that liquor stores and recreational pot shops weren’t essential, but they seemed pretty important to customer panic. Hancock cleared his order in a matter of hours, and pharmacies and liquor stores are now considered important businesses.
The legal marijuana industry may be new to most of the country, but Denver is old enough to look back on the early days. And as the industry matured, some well-known names from that era have vanished. For a quick walk down the marijuana memory trail, we’ve listed eight pharmacy chains that were once destined to expand only to be consumed by deep pockets, poor planning, or criminal behavior.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis, who visits a pharmacy here, issued numerous orders related to marijuana during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Denver mayor wasn’t the only elected official to quickly backtrack marijuana rules at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. In March, Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order requiring recreational pharmacies across the state to close for two weeks for personal sales and only move to roadside operations. However, Polis overturned the decision days later and allowed the recreational pot shops to stay open for personal purchases.
Self-quarantine and sitting at home due to coronavirus concerns will cause many of us to break out the bong, but our resident stoner advised marijuana users to keep these smoking paraphernalia to themselves (mouthpieces are natural resting places for germs and can still wear them too after wiping with alcohol). However, a reader’s comment on the subject generated the greatest excitement. According to one commenter, a registered nurse, pot smokers can be at an even higher risk for COVID-19.
Customers are waiting to enter the new Cookies pharmacy in November.
Official varieties of cookies have been available in Colorado through a licensing agreement with another grower since May, but the first cookies dispensary finally opened in November. The new cookies store on Green Mile on South Broadway had inspired long lines of enthusiastic customers before the doors opened on day one, and the store had stayed full ever since.
Tourists visiting Colorado are a big part of the state’s marijuana economy, and some of them throw away their leftover vacation weed at the airport, some of which have special boxes for marijuana disposal. Although Denver International Airport doesn’t have marijuana amnesty boxes, it is the state’s closest major airport. According to Colorado Springs airport officials, the boxes were rolled out in 2014 and collected a total of 17,003 grams of marijuana by the end of 2019. Aspen-Pitkin County Airport also has amnesty boxes for marijuana. It started with one in 2014 but eventually rose to three because the trash cans were full.
Regardless of whether you agree with the rules or not, people are always looking for a place to smoke weed outside of their homes. It did so before the pandemic, during the pandemic (although the vast majority of pot-friendly events and facilities are closed during the winter wave of COVID-19) and after the pandemic.
The Green Solution, one of Colorado’s largest pharmacy chains, announced that it would be bought by a publicly traded company in 2019.
Courtesy of Green Solution
A Denver budtender and standup comedian wants pharmacy buyers to do the right thing during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes practicing social distancing, pre-ordering before visiting the store, and tipping your budget tender.
The Green Solution, one of Colorado’s largest pharmacy chains, agreed to be acquired for the first time in 2019 by Columbia Care Inc., a publicly traded company based in New York. The Deal – $ 110 million in Columbia Care stock, $ 15 million in cash, and $ 15 million in loans were expected to be extended to 23 TGS pharmacies and six growing operations in early 2020 become. However, that forecast was postponed to the second quarter of the year ended June 30th and then postponed again. As several other announced marijuana acquisitions disappeared in 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic left the stock market financially unsafe, questions about the future of the TGS deal began to emerge. However, those questions were answered in September when the deal was officially closed.
The marijuana industry did not receive official federal aid from business bailouts (and probably will not do so in future federal legislation), but it did receive aid vacation in time for April 20 thanks to the round of national stimulus payments in April. According to I Heart Jane pharmacy ordering platform, more than 1,300 pharmacies across the country saw an average sales increase of 48 percent on April 15 compared to an average weekday. According to Flowhub, another dispensary data tracker, recreational sales in Colorado were up 57 percent on April 15 and medical marijuana sales were up 39 percent from the previous Wednesday.
What were your favorite marijuana stories this year? Send suggestions to [email protected]
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Thomas Mitchell has been writing about everything cannabis-related for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate, and general news en route to publications like the Republic of Arizona, Inman, and Fox Sports. He is currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.