Los Angeles may have Proposition D in place, limiting the number of dispensaries which can be licensed and operated in Los Angeles County, but the city is unmistakable as a region of innovation and, as a result, seen as a hotbed for early cannabis-related technological creation and adoption. With all the momentum, money, and consumer excitement behind the evolving cannabis industry, the industry has become further mixed up in the rapid-pace push to make deliveries quicker and driving less driver-oriented.
Thanks to the 2017 Cannabis Cup in San Bernardino, California, our spirits are ever higher for the eventual merger of marijuana delivery and drone technology. When years ago, Amazon suggested drones for personal deliveries I, myself, thought it was ridiculous — a total logistical nightmare — if the job were to be referred drones for individual households rather than package centers, but now. . .
To say the least, the concept of getting pizza and a blunt delivered may be one of my favorite thoughts to imagine but is a necessary extension of the industry.
There no better place than California to introduce such totem of consumer want and industry drive; after all, the Los Angeles area is a downright metropolis. The regional culture is imbued with the social presence of generations as the cultural landmark of fame and entertainment, of war and protest, and of innovation and change on the west coast and beyond.
Eaze, a California-based on-demand medical marijuana servicer (note: they do not service LA county in accordance with Prop D) brought their marijuana delivery drone to the San Bernardino Cannabis Cup. First thought: how do you ensure the product does not get into the hands of children? How do you account for apartments or residential complexes or the fact people can pass on an ID card?
At the same time: If a drone delivers it, there is no risk to employees in the face of federal prosecutions. Also, arguably, it may remove drivers who have elevated beyond the threshold where driving can be done legally to stay out of the driver’s seat.
As Californian cities each grapple with creating by-laws and ordinances through which marijuana will flow from the grower, manufacturer, or dispensary to the consumer legally, this idea comes as Eaze rides out expansion plans under its funding haul of over $24.5 million dollars. In favor of the company, the Los Angeles city council is currently adopting the new voter-backed city bylaws for delivery in the Cannabis industry, however, there is no yet mention of drones.
Measure M, voted on in early March 2017, will replace Proposition D and create an administrative structure in compliance with Proposition 64. While the measure orders the city council to craft of marijuana delivery laws, even Eaze acknowledges the forward-thinking nature of their program, citing in an interview to L.A. Weekly, “We really want to showcase the power of technology in this industry and help regulators understand it.”
While marijuana delivery by drone may be a way off, the reason for Los Angeles to consider all delivery options are abounding. Here’s a few:
Los Angeles as a city is home to nearly four (4) million residents; as a county, the population booms to over 250% to over 10 million. Ultimately representing as much as 1/4th of the state population, the concept of marijuana delivery by means other than roads can have several noticeable effects on a market the size of Los Angeles.
First, as an effort to undercut the black market. As the industry – both in California and nationally – carries on full-steam ahead, despite federal legal contradictions, one of the implications of delivery is convenience. Convenience is to motivation what price is discount – it is all about the reference point. If consumers can access marijuana through delivery than through dealer – why would anyone go through their dealer?
While such a marijuana delivery options will require an entirely different set of laws, there are both known and unknown hurdles to first address which would ensure this is not instead adopted by criminals to deliver out of the state and marijuana would not be more accessible to youth populations.
Secondly, with a population the size of Los Angeles, marijuana delivery should also be looked at by estimated need. While it is too early to say the overall heft the cannabis industry will carry in California, it is estimated to be substantial at over $6.5 billion by 2020. While Los Angeles as a city represents only 10% the total population, census data shows roughly 60% of the city’s residents are between the age of 21 and 60 years of age. (The following is just an arbitrary value) If just 30% of those individuals (over 720,000 people) use marijuana and furthermore 30% of those people would be willing to use delivery for a fee or service cost of some kind, that is over 200,000 people willing to use a service.
And it is not just enough to estimate how many people in Los Angeles may be willing to use a marijuana delivery service, the consideration should also be viewed from the perspective of how frequently the average consumer uses or demands marijuana. Marijuana use is historically a social activity, with unofficial holidays such as 420 or 710 already widely known throughout the world. Additionally, marijuana use is known to be more frequent compared to other consumer activities, like changing your oil or getting dental work. Lastly, marijuana consumption does not generally ebb to the flow of supply. People usually have several outlets to buy cannabis at this point.
Though the delivery of marijuana via drone seems something far in the future, Eaze has shown the technology and consumers it’s already here.