You can call a local pizza place on any evening and get a hot pie delivered right to your door. You can shop on Amazon and have your purchase delivered generally within a day or two. In fact, there is virtually nothing you cannot purchase at home and have shipped to you. Even cannabis can be delivered to your door in some states.
Cannabis home delivery is comparatively new. It offers an abundance of opportunities to entrepreneurs willing to take some risks. However, it also poses significant problems that need to be overcome if an entrepreneur wants to make money.
Opportunities for Dispensaries
Both medical-only and recreational use states restrict cannabis sales to licensed dispensaries. You cannot go down to the local Walmart and buy some weed. As such, opening up a home delivery market also opens up incredible opportunities for dispensaries. Being able to deliver expands a dispensary’s reach considerably.
The biggest challenge for dispensaries is figuring out the best delivery model to utilize. Do they want delivery drivers to operate as independent contractors, or do they put them on the payroll? Do they contract delivery to an existing third-party service provider?
Opportunities for Drivers
Cannabis home delivery obviously offers opportunities for drivers. There is good money to be made in just about any kind of delivery service. One driver might decide to go to work as a direct employee of a dispensary or third-party contractor. Another might decide to start their own contract delivery business.
One of cannabis home delivery’s biggest challenges is handling payments. Beehive Farmacy, a Utah pharmacy offering cannabis home delivery, says the medical cannabis industry in the state is still largely cash based. That is not ideal for home delivery.
It is really not a good idea to send delivery drivers out with large amounts of cash on board. At the same time, there isn’t an abundance of electronic payment options available. Banks and credit card companies are still reluctant to do business with the cannabis industry.
Delivery range can be a problem in largely rural states like Utah. How far does Beehive Farmacy go to reach customers? Delivering in close proximity to their Salt Lake City and Brigham City locations isn’t a big deal. But do they go to the far edges of the state?
To make statewide delivery economically viable in Utah, processors and dispensaries need to be able to set up distribution centers located closer to the populations they serve. Otherwise, it may not be practical to send delivery drivers across the state.
Despite all the opportunities cannabis home delivery offers to entrepreneurs and patients, there is always the looming risk of federal law enforcement. Marijuana and THC-derived products are still illegal under federal law, so there is always the risk that delivery drivers could be arrested and prosecuted.
To date, Washington has chosen to turn a blind eye. They have chosen not to enforce the law in relation to either medical or recreational use. But until marijuana is fully decriminalized or reclassified under a less strict schedule, the risk of violating federal law is ever present.
It would appear as though the U.S. has long since passed the point of no return on cannabis. More than three dozen states have medical cannabis programs in place. Another eighteen or so now allow recreational marijuana. There is no putting that genie back into the bottle.
That means cannabis home delivery is here to stay as well. It is rife with opportunities, but there are problems to overcome. In the meantime, watching the industry evolve is fascinating.