The medical cannabis industry in Utah is just now embracing home delivery. Medical cannabis pharmacies licensed by the state are free to deliver medicine directly to their customers through their own delivery service or by contracting with a third-party. Meanwhile, more liberal states like California and Colorado offer recreational-use programs with greater opportunities for home delivery service.
No doubt, having cannabis delivered directly to your door is a lot more convenient than having to drive to the pharmacy or dispensary. But not everything about home delivery is sunshine and roses. There are some definite drawbacks to home delivery as a business. Legislators also have legitimate concerns about the potential problems home delivery can create.
Here are the top five drawbacks of cannabis home delivery:
1. Ongoing Security Concerns
Cannabis is a highly sought product on the black market. Furthermore, it is an expensive product when sold through legal channels. These two things combined make home delivery drivers prime targets for criminals. This suggests that there are real security concerns for any company interested in getting into the delivery space.
Remember, the delivery drivers carry a very valuable product. They also tend to carry cash. It is a recipe for all sorts of trouble. Both delivery companies and their drivers have to assume a certain level of risk whenever they take to the highways.
2. The Inconvenience of Cash
Delivery drivers handling large amounts of cash is a security concern all by itself. But according to Salt Lake City, Utah’s Beehive Farmacy, home delivery creates another big concern: inconvenience for both delivery companies and cannabis pharmacies.
The cannabis industry already being largely cash-based makes things difficult on business owners who have a hard time getting banking services. So what do they do with all that cash? Their problems only multiply when they have to run a cash-based delivery service.
3. Conflict with Federal Law
Until the federal government legalizes the sale and distribution of marijuana products nationwide, cannabis home delivery will technically be illegal. Delivery companies and their drivers currently operate under the assumption that federal authorities will leave them alone. Thus far, Washington has done just that. But the DEA and other federal agencies could change their minds at the drop of a hat.
Imagine investing the time, effort, and sweat equity into building a home delivery service only to have federal officials come in and shut you down. Not only would your dream die on the spot, but you could also face prison time.
4. A Stronger Black Market
Introducing home delivery to the cannabis industry introduces more black-market opportunities. Such opportunities will continue for as long as marijuana remains federally illegal. If you are not sure why, think of it in terms of the bootleg liquor market during prohibition. Illegal products also tend to be lucrative products to criminals. There is no reason to believe that the existing cannabis black market will not look for ways to exploit home delivery.
5. Potential Patient Fraud
States with strict medical use programs also tend to have very strict rules where delivery is concerned. In Utah, patients can only have medical cannabis delivered to the home addresses they have on file with the state. But rest assured that people will try to game the system. There will be instances of fraud. Furthermore, fraud will only increase as time goes on.
Cannabis home delivery is generally seen as a good thing. It probably is from a big picture view. But not everything about it is good. There are also some problems that, if ignored, will only lead to bigger problems.