California had a cannabis delivery problem, in that some municipalities banned delivery leaving behind swaths of “pot deserts.” Although medicinal and recreational cannabis use is legal in California, cities and counties can create regulations or ban the practice. Legal delivery services had to avoid delivering to certain cities to remain compliant.
On January 16, 2019, however, new state rules approved by the Office of Administrative Law stated that cannabis delivery services could deliver cannabis into cities that banned it. Many advocates say the new rules could reduce black market operations and provide cannabis to patients that need it, while others claim the rules are infringing on the local authority.
Cannabis Delivery Everywhere?
California’s new changes in cannabis delivery mean that anyone with a valid medical card or any adult over 21 can order cannabis through a licensed delivery service and get it delivered to their front door. Delivery drivers do have some areas they can’t deliver to, however. Delivery can’t happen on public land or government-run property for a tribe or tribal member.
Cannabis delivery is also restricted from happening close to a school or day care center. Before the recent changes, only about 30% of local jurisdictions regulated cannabis use forcing delivery companies to avoid certain cities. Because of this, many residents had to drive hours out of their way to find a licensed dispensary.
Cannabis Delivery For All
Cannabis delivery is seen as a burden for many jurisdictions, but not for users who can’t make it to a nearby dispensary due to a medical condition or any other reason debilitating condition. Now, consumers will be able to stay home and get their treatment. Under the new rules, delivery vehicles can carry a maximum of $5,000 worth of cannabis products.
They must also avoid any signs or markings that indicate the vehicle is used for cannabis transportation. This measure is meant to reduce the risk of robbery or other crimes.
Local jurisdictions are ready to fight back against these new rulings. Local officials have passed ordinances banning home delivery creating a confusing web of contradictory laws. In Indian Wells, a Coachella Valley town of just 5,267 people, is bordered by cities that allow for medical cannabis deliveries and licensed cannabis retailers.
David Gassaway, an Indian Wells community development director, told the Desert Sun that “it’s more of a local control issue than specifically a marijuana topic, the state slowly creeping into local affairs more and more.” The League of California Cities, an advocate for cities at the state capitol, has also opposed this measure.
A Leader in Cannabis Delivery
California is the first state to legalize statewide cannabis home delivery, even in cities and counties that ban it. Massachusetts is another state with eyes on legalizing statewide cannabis delivery. A subcommittee of the state’s Cannabis Control Commission voiced their support for home delivery as an effort to reduce illegal businesses. New Jersey has also announced plans that include cannabis delivery for medical and recreational.
Law enforcement isn’t happy that the rules will make enforcement harder on them. Cities are upset with the state’s overreaching laws. For many cannabis users, however, home cannabis delivery is a game-changer. Unlicensed delivery services will still be an issue, but at least more people can get the cannabis they need.