By Cassandra Dowell
It’s no secret that the on-demand cannabis marketplace is helping dispensaries expand their clientele, fueling competition among legal cannabis delivery providers eager to dominate the market.
But San Francisco-based GreenRush, a dispensary-forward on-demand platform, is finding success with a different approach to on-demand delivery services. Rather than being the “Uber of pot,” like so many on-demand delivery businesses, GreenRush is more like the “GrubHub of pot,” GreenRush CEO and Founder Paul Warshaw told MJINews. “We not only connect patients with the exact product they’re looking for, but we also support the local mom and pop dispensaries by empowering their employees instead of providing an outsourced delivery fleet.”
GreenRush recently announced an exclusive partnership with nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary Harborside Health Center to be its only on-demand delivery partner. Harborside has locations in Oakland and San Jose, California.
Since launching in April 2015, GreenRush has more than 50 registered dispensary partners, and is expected to hit 100 within the next two months throughout northern and southern California, the company said, noting plans to expand nationally pending legalization movements. The platform currently services the Bay Area, Sacramento, Orange County, Los Angles, San Diego, and the Inland Empire. “Our unique platform brings partnering dispensaries pre-verified patients looking to place orders,” Warshaw said. “And we offer more than 2,500 unique products through our partners—that keeps patients coming back.”
While the Harborside deal positions GreenRush with one of the largest dispensaries in the country, Warshaw said the platform provides a huge advantage for smaller operations as well. “We are putting up the new and unknown dispensaries on our platform and overnight sending them business,” he said. “We are getting their brand in front of thousands of people.”
The company is also investing heavily in brand building and marketing strategies, furthering the visibility of dispensaries who have joined the GreenRush network, Warshaw explained. “We are putting a significant amount of money into marketing, so we are not only getting our brand name out there but we are aggressively marketing our dispensary partners,” he said, adding that the company frequently exhibits at industry-related events. “We also encourage partners to do their own marketing and build their own website. What is most valuable to the dispensary is the development of brand loyalty we provide, which brings them new patients.”
To become verified, patients fill out a form, upload their doctor’s medical marijuana recommendations and their driver’s licenses. Then the customer service team finalizes the verification process. “Once verified, they can order through our dispensary partners,” he said, noting the process takes about three minutes. “This creates a seamless experience for patients who in a lot of cases may be too sick or busy to go to the dispensary.”
Similar to on-demand online food delivery and restaurant takeout service GrubHub, GreenRush saves users’ information to make medical marijuana delivery just a few clicks away. “Patients can call the dispensary directly, but GreenRush has their information saved. It allows patients to place new orders and reorder past orders all with the click of a button.” Once an order is confirmed, it can be tracked from the dispensary to the patient’s doorstep.
GreenRush is free for dispensaries to sign-up and use, and only gets paid on orders sent through the platform to dispensaries.
Companies that target the needs of both patients and dispensaries will need to further distinguish themselves from the competition in order to thrive in the rapidly evolving cannabis regulatory environment.