Staying busy

Joe LaBarba works Inside Plantwell Trading Co. on Palmetto Avenue. Adam Pardee / Tribune

Pacifica’s growing cannabis industry was among those that has thus far weathered the pandemic — in part by pivoting from in-store sales to delivery.

Pacifica voters approved six cannabis shops for Pacifica. Five out of the six businesses in Sharp Park and Rockaway are open for business now. Together, they provide the city with 6 percent sales tax on all their purchases.

Pacifica City Manager Kevin Woodhouse provided an indication that things have not gone to pot during the public health crisis. He said the city is budgeting for $800,000 in revenues in the current fiscal year as a result of the cannabis program. That number includes taxes on retail sales of cannabis and is up over last year and the mid-year projection.

Archie Judan of Plantwell Trading Co., a medicinal cannabis business, said the shops were an essential business necessary for many during a stressful time. Nonetheless, pandemic restrictions temporarily closed or limited the number of people allowed inside the business.

Judan described busy times but declined to say just how much he made in the year.

“It was constant and the delivery services were being used a lot more,” he said. “People were not going outside.”

“A lot of local residents were able to shop local instead of going where they don’t feel safe,” Judan said.

Across the country and around the globe, there is evidence that marijuana use is up. Canada’s Center for Addiction and Mental Health, for example, reported that half of cannabis users say they used more during the pandemic. Closer to home,, a cannabis-centered news site, reports that Americans purchased $18.3 billion in cannabis products over the past calendar year, $7.6 billion more than in 2019.

Cannabis sellers say delivery and curbside pickup were key to keeping the product flowing during a difficult retail environment.

Kai Leano of Seaweed Holistics said Seaweed doesn’t offer delivery. She thinks business might have been even better without the pandemic.

“A lot of businesses took a blow,” she said. “We probably did as well.”

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