Businesses are on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak. Employers must attempt to balance public health concerns, compliance with emergency government orders, employee safety, consumer demand, and financial reality. Many states are enacting restrictions on business activity or even forcing “non-essential” companies to close or transition to a work-from-home policy.
When the crisis began it was not at all clear how the medical marijuana industry would fare. Recent developments suggest the industry has not only escaped closure, but many states have relaxed existing restrictions to encourage greater patient access while containing the spread of the virus.
The United States medical marijuana market is estimated to reach nearly $8 billion in sales in 2020 with annual growth of around 17%. 33 states currently have some type of medical marijuana program with an estimated 3 million total patients across the country. The industry employs 240,000 people.
The onset of the COVID-19 outbreak presents a new arena of legal uncertainty for a rapidly expanding industry known to inhabit a constant state of flux. The Pennsylvania medical marijuana industry reached $500 million in total sales over just its first two years of existence. The Keystone State currently has about 150,000 medical marijuana patients. The New Jersey medical marijuana industry has likewise demonstrated remarkable growth following recent expansions of eligibility.