Virus causing cannabis and liquor stores to see big demand – Penticton News

Dale Cory

The COVID-19 crisis is affecting our lives in many ways, with empty shelves at the grocery stores and a toilet paper crisis valley-wide.

What about liquor sales and cannabis sales?

Mathew Bolton, owner of Spiritleaf in Penticton, says customers are stocking up.

“Foot traffic is down, so our number of customers isn’t as high, however, they’re purchasing a little bit more bulk item,” said Bolton. Spiritleaf also has a store in West Kelowna and one in Vernon.

“The larger cities are seeing more of those larger increases as people are doing their panic buying.”

Bolton believes an increase in sales can be attributed to people coming in and purchasing cannabis in anticipation of being stuck at home. 

With social distancing in mind, the business will begin processing orders by phone starting at 9 a.m. next week, and will be open to the public from noon until 8 pm.

“Cannabis and its products are a little bit more of the comfort item for people. So in times like this, people are coming in and enjoying it. They’re having more time off, whether they’ve been laid off, or just off from work.”

Demand for alcohol is also strong.

“We’re starting to get pretty busy,” said Michael Devolder, Government Street Liquor Store manager. “Sales have gone up in the last week and a half, particularly in the last few days as everyone has heard more information about COVID-19.” 

Has there been one item more popular than most?

“Mostly coolers. I’ve seen a big trend going on with coolers,” Devolder said. “Even the newest trend is White Claw. That’s starting to skyrocket off our shelves.”

Government run liquor and cannabis stores in B.C. have adjusted their hours in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, to 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Are you stockpiling from liquor or cannabis stores? Tell us about it at [email protected]

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