Coffeeshops are reporting that customers are buying more marijuana when visiting the shops as Covid-19 restrictions tighten.
Residents in the Dutch city of Groningen are buying more marijuana as they are encouraged to work from home and a nightly curfew and restrictions on when soft drugs may be sold are implemented.
As a safety measure against Covid-19, the Dutch government has urged citizens to work from home wherever possible and limit any contact outside their own household. In addition, the implementation of a curfew between 9pm and 4:30am means citizens are spending more time alone in their homes. Breaking the curfew without a valid reason or employer form will result in a €95 fine.
Soft drugs and alcohol are currently not allowed to be sold after 8pm, resulting in citizens stockpiling these goods when they buy them.
An employee at The Clown, a popular coffeeshop in Groningen, says that there are “not particularly more people coming in, but people are buying more once they’re here”. Being home alone means people are bored and lonely. Smoking marijuana is a relaxing activity they can do by themselves, so they are getting through their stash quicker. Other coffeeshops in Groningen confirm this trend.
For coffeeshops, the Covid-19 restrictions have resulted in more business, but what do they mean for customers?
One patron at The Clown, Sergio, says he was buying marijuana for a friend of his, who he says “is smoking much more. He’s bored. He’s working at home and he has much more freedom at home.” Working from home means citizens don’t have to commute or dress in office attire, giving them much more free time.
One concern of this rise in marijuana use is the mental health of citizens. They are spending a lot of time by themselves and consuming more marijuana than before the lockdown, which could lead to loneliness or mental health issues like anxiety or depression.
The curfew was first implemented on the 23rd of January 2021 and is expected to last until Wednesday the 10th of February 2021. The restrictions on the sale of alcohol and soft drugs were implemented on the 14th of October 2020 and are expected to last until Tuesday the 9th of February 2021.