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Dos & Don’ts of Cannabis Delivery in California

Dec 20 2020, by Jessica McElfresh in Marijuana Business

As a licensed cannabis business in California, you can deliver to people over 21 years old at physical addresses. But there’s a catch. Local municipalities can prohibit or regulate delivery, according to a recent court decision. Though delivery is generally lawful, you may run into cities and counties where you cannot deliver or have to abide by additional rules.

If you currently deliver or would like to, you will have to pay close attention to local ordinances and create a process for preventing deliveries where it is illegal. Getting started with delivery can be challenging, which is why it is best to consult a California marijuana business lawyer. McElfresh Law is here to help.

Don’t Assume Delivery is Legal Everywhere

Whether you already offer delivery or hope to, the safest route is not to assume it is lawful in your market. You have to take it jurisdiction by jurisdiction. It is best to consult an attorney who is up to date on local ordinances that impact cannabis delivery.

Do Your Local Research

You may find the delivery of cannabis is prohibited in your desired area, in which case, you can focus on boosting your business in other ways. For instance, in Washington, where delivery isn’t allowed, many cannabis stores emphasize online ordering systems with quick in-store or curbside pickup.

Do Know the Statewide Delivery Rules

The Bureau of Cannabis Control regulates delivery. Whether you intend to offer delivery yourself or work with a delivery service, you need to know these laws. Some regulations include making sure vehicles are not marked as cannabis delivery, limiting the amount of product and cash, and ensuring each car has a lockbox.

Do Consider Starting Small

A vast majority of cannabis delivery services are regional. You may not be in a large metropolitan area or ready to serve a large area. In this situation, consider yourself like a local restaurant that offers delivery within a specific zone. Choose a radius or particular neighborhoods in which you will deliver to local customers.

Do Consider Working with an Established Delivery Service

As a dispensary, you can deliver the cannabis products yourself. But you may not want to take on delivery operations, including vetting and managing delivery drivers. It can be a tall order to set up delivery operations. Instead, consider a previously established delivery service that follows your intended area’s rules.

Do be Prepared for Rules to Change

You will need to be prepared to keep up with changes to local law. The marijuana industry in California is still relatively young. State and local laws are constantly changing, and you have to prepare for delivery ordinances to change, including in ways that could hurt your business.

Don’t Break the Rules

Cities and counties can enact whatever ordinances they want to limit or prohibit cannabis delivery. These rules are tough to enforce since delivery vehicles cannot be marked, and the marijuana products must be stored out of sight. A police officer cannot look at a vehicle and tell it is delivering marijuana. But that doesn’t mean your business should ignore local limitations. Flouting the rules can harm your business or lead to civil and criminal consequences.

Talk with a Marijuana Lawyer

Cannabis delivery is alive and well in California, even if there are still questions waiting to be answered. As a retailer, you can add delivery by handling it yourself or working with a delivery service. You may also be interested in starting a delivery service without a storefront.

Whatever your goals, we highly recommend you start on the right foot by consulting a marijuana business attorney at McElfresh Law. Reach us online or call (858) 756-7107.