It took 100 years for cannabis to go from an unlawful evil to a consumer product advertised on billboards and endorsed by everyone from politicians to mommy bloggers.
But it took only three weeks for it to become essential.
In March, as the governor gradually shut down many businesses across Oregon, consumers rushed weed shops with the same vigor as they did the toilet paper aisle, resulting in $84.5 million in sales—the single biggest retail month since recreational use was legalized in 2015.
On March 23, when Kate Brown issued her formal stay-home order, cannabis dispensaries were placed in the same category as grocery and liquor stores, pharmacies and gas stations—businesses Oregonians apparently cannot do without.
As with everything else in the world right now, the future of cannabis is uncertain. Here's what we know for sure, though: April 20, the highest of high holidays, is right around the corner, and dispensaries are still open. And that alone is cause for celebration.
4/20 is going to look a bit different this year—no puff-puff-passing, please. But it's also never been easier for stoners to remain locked to the couch: Delivery services, which have long struggled to establish a niche in the recreational marketplace, are suddenly booming. We tried them out, to see which were fastest, cheapest and, crucially, the safest.
Need ideas for what to order? We asked nine Portlanders which strains, edibles and topicals they've stockpiled for the occasion. And because there is perhaps no group right now that needs relief more than parents, we've provided a guide to getting high while schools are shut down and the kids have nowhere to go. Make sure dryer sheets are in your next grocery order, even if you don't own a washing machine!
While forecasting the post-pandemic landscape is difficult, we still had to ask: What might the cannabis industry look like when this is all over? According to those we spoke to, there are reasons for optimism (see right). After all, the country is going to be looking for any way to stimulate the economy, and what better stimulant is there than pot?
So grab a pre-roll, a gummy or an infused bath bomb, and treat yourself to a moment of relaxation. Right now, it might be more crucial than ever—you might even call it essential.
— Matthew Singer, WW Arts & Culture Editor