ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The medical cannabis industry is one that’s actually reported to be thriving during the pandemic, while local shops adjust to COVID restrictions. Jefferson King with Everest Apothecary in Albuquerque said business has been sky high since March, picking up nearly 1,000 new customers and more than doubling sales in April and May with sales continuing to soar since summer.
“From June until now we’ve seen a lot of increase like I said probably up to 60 to 75 percent overall.” Everest Apothecary isn’t the only medical cannabis dispensary in the state thriving.
The industry as a whole across New Mexico has been booming, now with more than 100,000 registered medical cannabis patients. State experts said that’s a 27% increase since June 2019 and has ultimately led to more sales.
“In the first six months of 2020 there were $92 million in sales which is an increase in 55 percent from the same period the previous year,” said Ben Lewinger, Executive Director of New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce.
Lewinger said they were deemed an essential industry by the governor in March with good reason. “People are also taking the opportunity to use cannabis for other things that it’s proven to work for beyond just qualifying conditions, things like anxiety, stress, insomnia,” said Lewinger.
The pandemic’s been tough on everyone, and those in the medical cannabis industry hope their business helps. “We have a lot of people that are struggling out there and you know we’re here for them and we just want to let them know it’s going to be okay and we’ll get through this,” said King.
King said they currently have six locations throughout the state with about 90 employees. Fortunately, they haven’t had any layoffs or furloughs during the pandemic. King said Everest Apothecary and other cannabis stores throughout the state have been abiding by the public health order by limiting the number of customers inside, cleaning non-stop, and of course requiring everyone to wear masks. The state’s Medical Cannabis Chamber of Commerce said stores throughout the state are limiting capacity to 25%.