Weed Advocates Make Plea for Emergency Delivery Services

Despite cannabis legalization, recreational marijuana delivery has remained explicitly prohibited by most states.

cannabis growing in a production facility Source: iStock

Cannabis advocates are pushing for states to allow emergency marijuana delivery services. 

With the country in the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak, non-essential businesses have been ordered to close across America. Marijuana dispensaries have been deemed essential and many remain open, however, advocates in the cannabis community are lobbying state governments to legalize emergency delivery services in light of the current situation our country is facing with the coronavirus. 

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As of 2020, medical cannabis has been legalized in 33 states and D.C.; eleven of those states have made recreational marijuana legal as well. To find out the legal status of cannabis in your state, check out this interactive map illustrating cannabis legality by state here

Despite cannabis legalization, recreational marijuana delivery has remained explicitly prohibited by most states. Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, only a handful of states allowed dispensaries to deliver recreational cannabis, including California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Oregon. 

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Medical cannabis delivery, on the other hand, is permitted in many states across the country, including Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia. 

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In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, many legislators are now considering proposals to legalize cannabis delivery in an effort to support social distancing and reduce the spread of the virus.

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Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed an executive order to allow for home delivery service and curbside pickup of both medical and recreational cannabis throughout the Great Lakes State. Similarly, in Nevada, local municipalities are relaxing restrictions on cannabis delivery. 

Spokesperson for the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) David Harns said to MLive, “In-person transactions within the licensed facility or establishment are prohibited. Additionally, licensees must comply with social distancing requirements for staff within the facilities and establishments. Licensees must designate only as many employees as necessary to show up to work to cover supplies and provide services and to maintain the value of inventory in general.”

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Legislators in Denver have opted to hold off on allowing delivery before 2021, however, many dispensaries across the city have expanded their services to include curbside pickup. Director of Communications for the City of Denver Division of Excise and Licensing, Eric Escudero, recently told the Denver Post, “The city and county of Denver has no plans at this time to implement any emergency cannabis delivery program.”

Lobbyist for the cannabis industry Cindy Sovine expressed her support for expanding home delivery services for marijuana dispensaries, saying, “It would make sense for Denver to allow their dispensaries to begin delivering.”

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Lisa Gee, Marketing Director for Lightshade, also agrees with the proposed changes. “We believe very strongly in delivery. If we had it right now, it would be a game-changer,” said Gee. 

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According to Shannon Fender, Director of Public Affairs for Native Roots, “It would be great to allow (third party) transporters to begin working with stores to provide the infrastructure for delivery. By law, transporters may not begin delivery until 2021 when recreational delivery comes online.”

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Added Fender, “In current times we are ensuring social distancing in our medical stores which remain open, and this option will further allow people to stay home and reduce the number of trips they have to make outside their homes for essential products.”

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