Delivery services are an integral part of a functioning regulated cannabis market. Delivery is critical for ensuring that medical patients have access to their medicine, particularly those with mobility issues and those who reside in rural communities without sufficient retail access. Delivery also provides a convenient option to purchase legal cannabis, making it less likely that consumers will turn to the unregulated market.

Policy recommendations

  • Allow both retail storefront and independent non-storefront delivery services to conduct cannabis delivery statewide.
  • Prior to delivering cannabis to an individual at the final point-of-sale, delivery services should be subjected to the same identification and age verification standards that exist for brick-and-mortar storefront retailers.
  • Ensure that cannabis delivery is available to both medical and adult-use consumers.
  • Mandate GPS tracking for all delivery drivers and require all transactions to be accompanied by appropriate order forms, invoices, and manifests.
  • Authorize online ordering for delivery services.
  • Deliveries should only be made to physical addresses, and there should be a clear prohibition on deliveries to schools, parks, and youth centers.

Delivery Provides Patients with Critical Access to

Medical Cannabis

Delivery services provide patients with much-needed access to medical cannabis, especially those who are unable to drive or endure long trips via public transportation or rideshare. Delivery is crucial for patients using cannabis to treat chronic health conditions and manage symptoms associated with cancer, HIV/AIDs, diabetes, epilepsy, and PTSD. Many of these patients may also be too ill to cultivate their own cannabis, even if they live in a state that allows them to do so. Banning cannabis delivery means that many patients will be prevented from accessing the medicine they rely on.

Cannabis delivery must be available to both medical and adult-use cannabis consumers, as there are a multitude of reasons as to why a medical patient may not join their state’s patient registry. Depending on the jurisdiction, cannabis use can put an individual at risk for termination of employment, loss of child custody, rejection of gun permit applications, or loss of Department of Veterans Affairs benefits. This can be observed in California, where the number of patients registered with the state’s medical cannabis ID program has decreased dramatically in the past 10 years, even as cannabis has become more accepted and easily available. In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, only 3,355 people in a state of 39 million held official medical cannabis ID cards, demonstrating that many medical patients are choosing to bypass the patient registry altogether. To ensure that patients have reliable access to medical cannabis, delivery must be a widely available and accessible service for all consumers.

Delivery Increases Adult-Use Consumer Access to the

Regulated Market

Delivery services also expand adult-use consumer access to the regulated market. According to a 2019 survey from BDS Analytics, convenience is one of the top considerations for cannabis consumers, with 67% of consumers identifying it as “vital.” Modern consumers have become accustomed to buying virtually every consumer product online, including apparel, home goods, tech gadgets, and alcohol. Today’s consumers expect transactions for new purchases to be quick and easy and product delivery to be seamless and convenient. As McKinsey highlighted in a recent report, more than 70 percent of U.S. consumers currently shop online, and a rapidly growing segment of consumers exclusively purchase goods digitally. Allowing cannabis delivery enables businesses to provide legal access to adult-use cannabis in a manner that today’s consumers prefer and increasingly demand.

The Types of Delivery Services Authorized: Storefront, Non-storefront, and Third-Party/Courier

There are generally three different cannabis delivery models, including storefront delivery, non-storefront delivery, and third-party/courier delivery. Storefront delivery occurs when a retailer/dispensary provides their own cannabis delivery services in addition to their regular, in-store sales. Non-storefront delivery is when a retail non-storefront operator sells cannabis exclusively through delivery. These licensees do not have a public-facing storefront. Third-party or courier delivery is when a storefront hires an outside party to provide delivery services on their behalf. Delivery policies should allow for storefront delivery, non-storefront delivery, and third-party/courier delivery.

The key feature differentiating storefront retail with delivery capability from independent/non-storefront delivery service providers is onsite consumer access. While storefronts are designed as a place for consumers to visit, those that also provide delivery must have a separate area for their delivery operations that consumers cannot access. Independent/non-storefront delivery services are subject to the same standards and regulations as traditional retailers; however, they do not allow consumer access or purchases on site.

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