Marijuana dispensaries get lit amid coronavirus lockdowns

Online delivery marketplace Eaze said order volume in California jumped 38% on Monday

Barbershops, nail salons and some restaurants have been ordered to close their doors as hard-hit states fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

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But dispensaries of marijuana, still illegal in some areas, have been deemed "essential" in Los Angeles County and other municipalities where it's sold as a healthcare product.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom's "Safer at Home" order, imposed Thursday, allows such businesses to keep operating and as a result, many dispensaries are experiencing a boom.

CORONAVIRUS BOOTS MARIJUANA SALES AT DISPENSARIES

Marijuana users have gone on a buying binge, as they stock up for potential quarantines or simply light up in search of relief during anxious times and government lockdowns.

New York, San Francisco and Palm Springs, California, are among the cities labeling dispensaries “essential” businesses that can remain open during virus lockdowns, in some cases with limitations.

Sales increases also are being witnessed in Colorado and Washington, according to cannabis data company Headset.

Dispensaries, meanwhile, have been quick to accommodate virus-wary customers, boosting delivery and pickup options. Through the U.S., more than 19,000 people have contracted COVID-19, and at least 260 have died.

In California, the online delivery marketplace Eaze said order volume jumped 38% on Monday, compared with the annual average, and deliveries overall saw an identical jump. Deliveries to first-time customers spiked over 50%.

The Weedmaps online directory has documented a big jump in delivery and pickup orders, too, and found California saw a 66% increase in order volume in the second week of March, compared with the first week.

Glass House Group CEO Kyle Kazan bought several Priuses to put more delivery vehicles on the road to keep up with demand.

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With many consumers reluctant to go out for fear of getting sick, practicing social distancing or being ordered to stay inside by government, “we are going to have to bring the store to them,” said Kazan, whose company includes a cultivation arm and four California dispensaries.

“It’s not much different than Amazon," Kazan said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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