It seems like only yesterday that in order to have marijuana delivered to one’s door, he or she would need to log into the scary Deep Web to make risky transactions on the Silk Road. Nowadays, in states like Colorado, Washington and California, medical marijuana patients can just make a phone call. Marijuana delivery services have been around for a number of years already. With the rise of cannabis businesses such as delivery services, it’s clear that while the industry appears to be reveling in the end of prohibition, legislators and lawmakers move comparably at a snail’s pace. As a result, many reports about marijuana delivery services say that law enforcement tends to look the other way.
Los Angeles-based Speedweed Marijuana Delivery advertises that they discretely provide their services. According to their website, actors, CEOs and other high-profile clientele in the Los Angeles area have been partaking in home weed delivery for years – out of necessity. As Speedweed says on their website, some people can’t risk walking into a dispensary, lest their photos appear on TMZ.
Marijuana was legalized in the state of Washington at the beginning of the 2014, but the first legal recreational dispensary didn’t open until July. While people in Washington were legally allowed to obtain marijuana, until recently there wasn’t really any place for them to get it. As a result, the Winterlife Cooperative Cannabis Delivery Service sprung up to serve the Greater Seattle Area.
According to Time, Seattle-area pot smokers who use the Winterlife service were able to buy a starter kit that included a variety of marijuana and hash, including a vaporizer and pipe. The box cost $350, and $100 of it was donated to an animal rehab center. Animals are a big part of Winterlife’s business; even the couriers who work the delivery area have code names that come from animals, such as Fox, Wombat and Jackrabbit.
However, now that recreational pot shops have opened in the Evergreen State, Winterlife has scaled back its operation to only deliver to medical marijuana patients. While recreational marijuana is legal in Washington, its delivery isn’t, and according to an article in the Economist, it constitutes a felony. A blog on the Seattle Times muses about whether this was due to legal pot stores being heavily regulated and taxed, while delivery services sit in a bit of a gray area. Perhaps the number of news stories that ran about it had something to do with it. Many seem to mention the service was a felony in Washington, and that law enforcement was looking the other way. The blog mentions that Winterlife’s spokesperson wouldn’t say what precipitated the change to all medical marijuana delivery.
According to the Summer 2013 edition of the Public Law Journal, published by the State Bar of California Public Law Section, the problem with medical marijuana delivery services is that local laws can’t easily be enforced. “Mobile outlets for dispensaries may not clearly fall within local codes relating to business taxes or business permits, in addition to zoning ordinances.”
Fortunately for entrepreneurs looking to get involved in the burgeoning cannabis industry as couriers, there is a service offering to set up marijuana delivery services for less than $2,000. GreenZipp will help wannabe marijuana deliverers incorporate and comply with local laws. Plus, the premium version will get a business set up in 10 days.
Judging by the rapid growth of the legal cannabis industry, and the demand for marijuana delivery through legal and illegal means, the answer is to either create more legislation and regulations for this particular facet of the industry. Or, as the New York Times recently suggested, an across-the-board legalization of pot would open up the door to more companies delivering in the open, perhaps even in cars or vans with big pot leaves on the side.