With a click here and a swipe there, you can have just about anything delivered to you if you have access to the internet and a credit card. You can call it a product of the Millennial generation’s laziness or our profound appreciation for convenience. Either way, you’re welcome. When it comes to cannabis, it should come as no surprise that there’s an app for weed delivery too. It’s called Eaze, and it’s been dubbed the Uber of pot because, well, that’s pretty much what this Silicon Valley startup is.
Eaze: Connecting Stores with Consumers
Here’s how it works. Eaze identifies itself as a digital platform that connects customers with licensed cannabis stores. In this way, it’s like Amazon or Shopify.
Basically, Eaze isn’t a cannabis retailer itself the way Amazon isn’t a store—it’s just a place where people can come together on the internet to make things happen. Specifically, retailers sign up with Eaze so that they can sell their product through its online platform. Then, delivery drivers (who must be W-2 employees of the dispensaries on the platform, and who have been trained on how to safely deliver weed to customers) discreetly deliver that product within an hour.
Eaze only operates in California. The company claims that it is compliant with the law because each of the cannabis stores it hosts on its platform holds both a state and local cannabis license. Additionally, Eaze won’t deliver cannabis into cities that have banned delivery. Even though cannabis delivery is legal at the state level, each municipality has the right to ban some or all areas of the legal industry.
In terms of the kinds of products customers can purchase through the app, the range is as broad as what you would expect to find in an actual cannabis store. You can shop for flower, vape cartridges, every kind of vaporizer, edibles, capsules, topicals, prerolls, pet products, concentrates, and other accessories. Eaze also offers customers exclusive promotions.
More Money, More Problems
Since its launch, Eaze has become a powerful voice in the industry. The company has raised over $52 million, operates in at least 100 California cities, and has reached more than 300,000 customers.
But this power has been received with some industry-wide ambivalence. Some dispensaries are suspicious of the company’s business model. They doesn’t need a license because it never touches cannabis—it doesn’t want any trouble with the Feds. But it makes its money by taking a portion out of the sales dispensaries make through its platform. On the other hand, some dispensaries are willing to embrace the business model because they see it as a powerful expansion tool. The access Eaze provides to a wider consumer base is undeniably appealing.
Then there is the controversy surrounding Eaze’s political clout. In early June, California released new delivery regulations that were heavily supported by Eaze. The new regulations seem to make it possible for a business to sell cannabis the way ice cream gets sold off a truck. A delivery vehicle would be pre-stocked with cannabis goods and roam around delivering weed as orders are filled online. While some in the industry seemed excited about this outcome, critics argued that Eaze was the real winner.
“When it comes down to it, this is all about Eaze. It’s not really helping the industry in general,” said Zachary Pitts, California Cannabis Delivery Alliance president.
In addition to that shade throwing, Eaze is facing a possible class-action lawsuit for allegedly violating marketing laws by sending unsolicited digital spam to customers. While the lawsuit is still in the early stages, it is something Eaze should take seriously. If Eaze loses the case, it could go out of business.
Is Eaze Living Up to Its Name? What Users are Saying
On both Google Play and the Apple Store, Eaze’s app has about a 3 out of 5 star rating. People truly either love it or hate it—on the whole, users either give it 5 stars or 1. And the comments they leave behind are either ecstatic or scathing. Case in point, here’s a 5-star review:
“This is the second time I have used your services. I am new to the Bay Area and I hate going into the dispensaries so when I seen your billboard on the freeway I had to look into it so I waited for you to confirm my identity (fast process) I then placed an order. I have to say extremely convenient, great service and fast. My first delivery took 15 minutes to show up at my door & second time around 20 minutes now that is fast considering the horrible traffic out here. Thank you Eaze.”
But then there’s this 1-star review:
“Similar to Uber, you place an order and can see the status of your delivery in real time. I placed an order, but it never arrived. I even received a text saying the driver was 4 minutes away. The order never came. I had to call the customer service line but waited on hold for 17 minutes before hanging up. I emailed customer service and they, very matter of fact-ly, advise that my order had been cancelled due to inventory issues (FYI, there are 5 dispensaries in a 3 mile radius of my house but I wanted to try the convenience of Eaze). Had I not called or emailed I would have been totally in the dark. The app does not allow you to see previous orders or their status but has a news feed?! Ugh, this company is very disappointing and needs a lot of help.”
No matter what an Eaze customer’s experience was like, that last part of the review rings true. Eaze probably does need help in the same way that every business in the nascent, volatile, and semi-legal cannabis industry does. But given its success thus far, Eaze will probably be around for the long haul.