Despite Law Enforcement Opposition Statewide Cannabis Delivery is on Cali's Doorstep
In the ultimate Friday News Dump, the regulatory authorities tasked with overseeing the hamstrung legal marijuana market in California released the long-awaited final draft of the proposed rules that will define the cannabis landscape in the state for years to come.
The industry was given the first set of proposed regulation updates back in the summer of 2018, then another updated version in October. The public was urged to lend its opinions in writing on the statutes spelled out in the proposal, and the agencies in charge vowed to weigh those opinions into their final decisions.
One provision that has survived the chopping block at every turn and has made it to the final draft of regulations from the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) is in regard to exactly where cannabis deliveries can (and cannot) occur.
When Cali voters rushed the polls back in November of 2016 to vote YES on Prop 64, many enthusiasts and haters alike mistakenly thought that “legalizing weed” meant that kush would flow through the streets and rain from the skies.
Instead, the deeply flawed prop left way too much power in the hands of local municipalities, forcing potential licensees to run a gauntlet of red tape in their hometowns in order to get the blessing from the state. This dual-permitting approach means that any city, town, or county with enough cranky pot-hating councilmen in charge can supersede most aspects of the new weed laws in an attempt to keep the industry off their turf.
The result is vast swaths of the state, mostly inland away from the coast, that have been dubbed as “pot deserts” due to the fact that consumers have to travel such far distances to find safe access to real legal weed.
Of the 482 cities in the state of California, only 70 of them will allow legal recreational cannabis dispensaries.
One solution that has been viable and highly popular since the early days of medical marijuana in the state is home delivery. One peek at any zip code you punch into Weedmaps.com reveals the sprawling reach that these services enjoy.
But the local law enforcement and anti-cannabis advocacy groups immediately honed in on this loophole and delivery drivers were being targeted for harassment or arrest by podunk police departments up and down the state until the BCC stepped in to clarify the proposed law surrounding cannabis delivery.
Every version of proposed BCC regs that we have seen this year include very specific language stating that any licensed delivery service has the right to deliver its goods to ANY municipality in California, regardless of whether they have enacted full bans on storefront dispensaries.
This language has been fought tooth and nail by the groups mentioned above, and they vow not to give up the fight even if the written law falls out of their favor.
In the meantime, we expect them to seek out loopholes of their own.
For example, some cities are drafting requirements that state yes anyone can deliver their weed here, but they have to have a permit from our city as well as their home city in order to do so.
That way, they are not “banning” delivery, but by making these new permits costly and time consuming to receive they can do so in a de facto manner.
It will not surprise us one bit if that misguided opposition to legal cannabis delivery leads to lawsuits in the new year once these final regulations are approved at the state level by the Office of Administrative Law.
Opponents to cannabis delivery continually try to paint the service as somehow “unsafe” to their community at large, and of course, they just love to shield themselves behind the boring and unfounded concern of “What about the kiiiiiids?”
They worry that legal, licensed cannabis delivery services who have invested years of their lives and tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to get compliant in a lucrative industry will throw it all away to dish dimebags to tots.
It would be funny if it wasn’t so infuriating.
It seems, however, that the weed industry will be getting the last laugh on the matter as the OAL is not likely to embroil themselves in the one-sided debate over what appears to be settled law.
These days we get our gifts delivered, our food delivered, our groceries delivered, and more.
As this trend continues, and as marijuana hops on board, how long do you think it will be before we see statewide weed delivery by mail, and who do you think will become California’s cannabis version of Amazon Prime?