In the United States, currently marijuana is fully legal for medical and recreational purposes in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia.
Companies such as Eaze and SpeedWeed are quickly establishing themselves in the marijuana industry, however they do not grow or sell any marijuana. Describing themselves as technology and delivery platforms, these companies are forging the connection between consumers and marijuana through their partnerships with local, legal dispensaries.
Marijuana delivering on-demand clientele varies, but is mostly comprised of those who are not comfortable going into a dispensary, those who are prescribed medical marijuana and cannot physically get to a dispensary, or those who simply prefer the convenience and discretion that comes with at-home delivery. Regardless of the motivation for ordering delivery, all users must be over the age of 21 (or 18 with a doctor’s recommendation).
Those interested in marijuana delivery simply download a delivery app (such as Eaze, SpeedWeed, or Nugg). There they browse and make their purchases with card or cash upon delivery. The process is very similar to online food delivery. A user’s confirmed purchase gets a delivery time estimation and can be tracked all the way up to a user’s front door. Once it arrives, drivers require proof of identification and a signature before the package exchanges hands.
But there's a difference. Unlike food delivery, the amount of marijuana one can order fluctuates. In general, all marijuana orders are subject to purchase limits, and whether it's for medical or recreational purposes also plays a factor into the amount allowed per delivery. For instance, with Nugg you can purchase up to 8 ounces per order for medical marijuana and up to 1 ounce per order for recreational marijuana.
In some affluent areas of California, recreational marijuana shops are strictly prohibited. However, this leaves lawmakers, citizens and delivery platforms grappling with the question: can a legal dispensary from another city deliver product to a city that has banned retail stores? Currently, the jury is still out.
What’s the holdup if it’s legal? Many factors are preventing delivery platforms from streamlining the marijuana delivery process effectively across the entirety of a legal state.
One factor is fear. Concerns surrounding an increase in crime stemming from marijuana delivery have been voiced in the cities and neighborhoods where delivery is up for debate. There has already been at least one account of a delivery driver becoming victim to a violent attempted robbery and another account of two men illegally selling marijuana and others drugs out of a truck. Which raises a bigger issue...
Another major obstacle is the existence of illegal delivery services and dispensaries. Individuals are interpreting a state’s legal marijuana status as permission to open a marijuana delivery service or dispensary anywhere within that state, which is technically not legal. Proper licensing is required for any marijuana-related business and some cities, such as Beverly Hills, have banned retail stores altogether.
Companies that are selling and delivering safe, tested marijuana and marijuana products from legal, licensed dispensaries must compete with the “black market” of unlicensed dispensaries and delivery services.
Some states are considering making it mandatory for marijuana businesses to include their state license number in all advertisements and post it online, a strategy that helped cut down illegal selling and delivering in California.
Despite the legality of marijuana, lawmakers and citizens are still divided when it comes to its mobility and on-demand delivery. Until legislation is further ironed out, delivery and technology platforms will continue to be met with logistics obstacles, delivery zone boundaries, and limited access to inventory and consumers.
One thing is for sure, the desire for such a service is prevalent and growing. With more states like Colorado and Massachusetts discussing and approving marijuana delivery, it’s only a matter of time before the controversies and logistical issues go up in smoke. Or at the very least, up in the air. Continuing to push the envelope, the marijuana delivery industry is already moving on to a faster, even cooler mode of delivery — drones.
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