Only a few short years ago, widespread support for medical marijuana was an unthinkable prospect. Between restrictive legislation and overbearing cultural stigma —a literal rock and hard place, so to speak— medical cannabis use was reserved for only the most severe medical diagnoses. Our perception of medical marijuana (MMJ) and its applications has changed dramatically in the years since.
As of 2021, thirty-seven different states have embraced medical marijuana usage, while nineteen have legalized cannabis products for recreational use. We’re approaching a future that industry adherents have desired for decades, but there’s still progress to be made. While the push for full legalization of MMJ continues to accelerate at the federal level, states with established MMJ markets have turned their efforts towards refining their business model to promote efficiency, customer experience, and profit through the emergence of medical marijuana delivery services.
Medical Marijuana Delivery: the Basics
Medical marijuana delivery is a godsend, particularly for those with severe medical issues. The idea that medical-grade cannabis can be delivered right to your doorstep like a GrubHub order may seem farfetched, but fifteen states have already implemented some form of limited delivery option. Medical marijuana delivery seems as easy as ordering a pizza, but are these delivery services as good in their execution as they are on paper?
The short answer is yes. In states like Arizona, Florida, Maryland, and Missouri, multiple dispensaries deliver with an increased emphasis on building out the program’s infrastructure even more. Ordering is simple. Most dispensaries have an app or an online ordering system in place, as well as dedicated phone lines for those who feel more comfortable with analog fulfillment options. Many of these dispensaries even offer same-day delivery. To take receipt of your order, you have to show your medical card (dependent on state law) and voilà! MMJ direct to your doorstep.
Like any new service, medical cannabis delivery has had its growing pains, however. The problem isn’t with ordering and delivery infrastructure though, but rather how forward-thinking that state’s legislation is. For example, while states like New York, New Jersey, and Arkansas all have legal delivery options, those options are few and far between. As with any new program, building up the industry is a matter of time.
Recreational Delivery Services
Not to be outdone by medical marijuana delivery, cannabis producers in fully legalized states have also begun dipping their toes into the cannabis delivery model. Of the fifteen fully legalized states, only six offer recreational delivery as well. Those states include:
Like federal legalization, recreational delivery may still be a ways off for the majority of the country, but with medical cannabis delivery options serving as a proof of concept, it might be closer than you think.
A Rapidly Expanding Market
It’s no secret that the $40 billion a year cannabis industry is growing at an exponential rate. Most notably, medical marijuana delivery services are keeping stride with that level of radical growth. In fact, 44% of MMJ patients use a delivery service to obtain products from their local dispensary. The relative anonymity and ease of ordering provide a superior customer experience to a sensitive demographic. Cannabis manufacturers should take note.
In a burgeoning market, rife with what seems like unlimited growth potential, it is in the best interest of companies that deal in the production of medical marijuana products —as well as recreational goods— to start exploring a wider range of customer fulfillment options. If your company is headquartered in a state with legal MMJ delivery, setting up shipping options may be the best choice for both your customers and your bottom line. Start with your state’s rules and regulations by asking key questions such as:
- The range of products the state allows via delivery
- The amount that can be shipped
- Type of address (residential/ commercial) where you can ship MMJ
- Consumer ID requirements
- Legal hours of operation for delivery services
Once you get a handle on what your state and local laws allow, you can decide if offering delivery options is in your company’s best interests.