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Home Editor's Picks Marijuana shops see sales increase due to coronavirus pandemic

Marijuana shops see sales increase due to coronavirus pandemic

Customers wait in line outside Canna Provisions in Lee on Wednesday, March 18. Photo by Ted Remsnyder.

As local residents face the possibility of long stretches of homebound isolation in the coming weeks and months due to the coronavirus pandemic, people are stocking up on essentials like bottled water and toilet paper from area supermarkets.

But unusually long lines were also witnessed at local cannabis stores in recent days, as Canna Provisions in Lee and Theory Wellness in Great Barrington each saw a surge in customers.

According to Canna Provisions Chief Operating Officer Erik Williams, the Housatonic Street store has seen its strongest business in the past week since the shop opened last June.

“Yesterday (March 16) was our busiest Monday by plus-20 percent,” he said. “We also just had our busiest weekend. Everything was up by 20 percent over our previous highest weekends.”

Crowds continued to gather outside both businesses on the morning of Wednesday, March 18.

“It’s been really busy,” Williams said. “I think that people are saying ‘Hey, I’m going to be at home for a long time.’ Just like everything else, people use cannabis for wellness. People are stocking up.”

According to Williams, Canna Provisions has undertaken protective measures to ward off spreading coronavirus to its staff and customers by holding deep cleaning sessions at night after the shop closes at 10 p.m. The Lee store has also enacted pauses throughout the business day for cleaning breaks.

“From the moment this started hitting, we’ve been escalating our readiness and cleanliness,” he said. “We started out with just heavy, heavy cleaning. We changed our protocols to tell employees if they were sick at all to stay home. Then the schools started closing and we lost some of our staff. Also, all of our staff over 65 has taken this time off. These measures are all to protect our employees.”

Williams said that on Tuesday, March 17, the shop cut back on the number of staff members allowed on the sales floor, reducing the normal crew of 17 staffers down to five at a time on the floor. 

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