With legal recreational marijuana sales slated to begin across the state in 2018, California stands poised to become a pioneer in the marijuana delivery services industry. Expanding at an explosive rate in cities across The Golden State and buoyed by recent legislation allowing for the dispensation of marijuana products without a storefront, the California Growers Association (CGA) is continuing the push to open local markets to on-demand delivery.
At the Doorstep of a New Era
Actively working with local government officials, law enforcement, and community leaders, CGA has set its sights on Los Angeles, who has thus far banned delivery services. CGA hopes to add the area to other regions of California, most notably the San Francisco Bay area, in allowing the delivery of medical cannabis. With many cities and counties sensitive to the perception of marijuana storefronts and worries about increased crime in their neighborhoods, the timing could be ripe for change to the medical and retail marijuana sales paradigm.
Lying in Wait
In areas of the state as yet to legalize delivery, those underserved and overlooked by storefront dispensaries, the financially or transportation-strapped, the terminally ill, as well as those who fear reputational backlash all stand to benefit from access to delivery services. Less conspicuous than pizza delivery, cannabis carrying cars tote no signage, safely stowing product out of sight.
Anticipated Methods of Delivery
Depending on legislation, customers could seek out delivery services operating via one of the following methods…
Showing the most opportunity for expansion, the mobile inventory approach is unhindered by area limitations, and involves a service typically operated by a known, single driver and professionally displayed/organized vehicle-based inventory. Stellar customer and product knowledge are key, with business expansion via retention/referral.
● Bag & Carry
Holding fewer liability risks, bag and carry models employ a number of well-paid, intelligent drivers monitored via GPS. Service is limited to a specific area, and deliveries are made only to verified patients and address, minimizing the threat of robbery.
Low Barriers to Entry, Significant Growth Potential
Massive growth of both the bud and budget variety are expected in the delivery arena as legislation passes according cannabis analytics firm New Frontier Data. More than 7,500 marijuana delivery companies across the state of California currently support up to 55% of current medical cannabis transactions. However this number is likely to grow. Recently passed legislative changes have significantly dropped entry barriers, rendering storefronts, building permits, and other expensive startups costs unnecessary. Other areas of the country in the beginnings of the cannabis delivery era, such as Portland and Las Vegas, could also offer additional opportunities – and potentially open the minds of legislators in other states who have thus far been reluctant to venture down the delivery road.
If consumers want access to such methods of delivery, without the threat of exposure to sub-par or black market fare, however, there are a lot of legislative kinks that must be worked out. Chief among them: Though state legal, California police may still confiscate marijuana products despite valid permitting/compliance documentation, putting drivers at legal risk, and owners at-risk financially. Addressing such larger legislative issues is key to ensuring a bright future in the viable, legitimate, delivery of top-quality California medical and recreational marijuana to clientele.
What Might the Future Hold?
Rather than catering only to the current, upper-middle class luxury market segment, companies could cater to a broader – or specific – segment of the market, defining their customer base via marketing and product offerings. With the right legislation, the state and the industry could ensure compassionate service to all levels of individuals, including the indigent. Lab testing would ideally ensure product quality for large and small delivery services alike. Marijuana product quality, alongside vendor relationships, could drive growth, with those that excel in responding to customer feedback rising to the top of the market.
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