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 illicit 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 2018-2019 fiscal year, only 4,807 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.1 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 survey conducted by the market research firm BDS Analytics, convenient access is the second most important purchasing consideration for cannabis consumers. Cannabis delivery businesses are adept at providing a key point of access and level of convenience to consumers in urban, suburban and rural areas.

The Types of Delivery Services Authorized: Storefront and Non-storefront

There are typically two types of licensed delivery services: (1) storefront cannabis retailers that also provide delivery of cannabis to consumers, and (2) independent/non-storefront delivery retailers that maintain a depot-model headquarters out of which all inventory and vehicles move. A functioning policy framework for delivery should include provisions for both storefront and independent/non-storefront 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 space for consumers to visit, those that also provide delivery must have a separate area for their delivery operations which consumers cannot access. Independent/non-storefront delivery services are subjected to the same standards and regulations as traditional retailers; however, they do not allow consumer access or purchases on site.

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