As the cannabis industry continues to grow, the types of services continue to expand as well. Currently, 36 of 50 states have legalized the use and sale of medical marijuana (MMJ). However, the laws concerning MMJ vary widely across these states.
While the lives of many patients have been drastically improved by the legalization of MMJ, it is still often difficult for them to get their medication. For these patients, delivery services are the solution. Rather than requiring in-person purchases of marijuana products, these businesses allow customers the convenience of at-home deliveries. When purchasing cannabis products, it is important to know what to look for in a delivery service.
Types of Cannabis Delivery
Within the industry, there are three main types of cannabis delivery services. They are as follows:
- Dispensary delivery: Some dispensaries offer retail marijuana delivery services to customers outside of their brick-and-mortar locations.
- On-board delivery: This is a service that allows customers to purchase marijuana products on-board a mobile dispensary (e.g., a van or truck). Due to special regulations in most MMJ-legal states, this is a rare form of delivery.
- Specialized delivery: This type of cannabis service comes from businesses that only do delivery. They do not sell, grow, or store the products. Instead, these businesses usually have a larger hub from which they coordinate deliveries services.
Each state has different laws regarding these business models, meaning that customers may have limited options in their local area. When it comes to choosing a delivery service, there are many factors you need to consider.
Considerations When Choosing a Delivery Method
The main consideration when picking a delivery method is trust. You need to be confident that your provider is compliant with local laws. Investigate multiple services and learn the answer to these questions:
- Does the delivery service have a license to distribute?
- Is the provider following the correct process for delivery?
- Are the products high-quality and safe?
- Does the business have customer reviews?
- Is the business transparent with its practices?
- Will it keep your personal information confidential?
Other factors you may consider are the products and the process themselves. Is the service convenient? Do you appreciate the available products? You can research the brand’s social media accounts and customer reviews for greater evidence that they provide a quality service.
This makes it easy to compare assorted brands that you are considering. Overall, finding the right delivery service may take time, but answering these questions is important if you want to remain in compliance with local laws.
State Regulations for Cannabis Delivery
Cannabis delivery laws vary on a state-by-state basis. There are currently fourteen total states with businesses offering a channel for marijuana delivery. They include the following:
- Alaska: There are no official delivery laws, but many businesses “gift” marijuana to buyers who then make a “donation” (the product cost plus a delivery fee).
- Arizona: Medical marijuana patients can receive medicine deliveries if they stay at home. This service only applies to state-registered users.
- California: Currently only MMJ deliveries are legal with a prescription, doctor’s note, proof of residency, and ID card.
- Colorado: House Bill 1092 allowed delivery to MMJ patients to begin in 2020 and recreational delivery to start in 2021.
- Maine: Anyone with a medical marijuana card can use delivery services to obtain their medication.
- Maryland: Consumers registered with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission can use a delivery service.
- Massachusetts: Delivery options are legally available to registered users and caregivers.
- Nevada: Anyone over the age of twenty-one can have either recreational or medical marijuana delivered.
- New Mexico: Delivery services can only fulfill orders for registered users or caregivers.
- New York: MMJ delivery is legal but recreational delivery is not.
- Oregon: Both recreational and medical marijuana is legal for delivery. Any customers must be twenty-one or older and sign for their order between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM.
- Rhode Island: MMJ is legal but there are no laws or regulations for its delivery.
- Vermont: MMJ users can get their medication delivered but must be home during the delivery and show their ID card.
- Washington: Without an official law for cannabis delivery, many businesses offer this service within the state.
The cannabis industry expects to grow as more states continue to legalize medical marijuana. In the future, there may be additional forms of MMJ delivery. However, for the time being, business owners and decision-makers should exercise caution when navigating the landscape of available services.
Understanding local regulations for MMJ delivery is essential for both businesses and consumers. The gray area within the cannabis industry carries with it a level of uncertainty and risk at the federal level. If purchasing MMJ, you want to make sure that the delivery service you are using follows local regulations and has the proper operating licenses, practices, and procedures.