Uber-Style Medical Marijuana Delivery Services Are Taking Off

Photo: Brett Levin - https://www.flickr.com/photos/scubabrett22/ - Flickr Creative Commons

 
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by Dani Plotkin

on December 4, 2014

In today’s culture of convenience, we can use apps to have our laundry picked up and delivered back to us within 24 hours, while receiving a free pair of underwear and complimentary cookie for all of the effort we put in. If we’re craving food from a restaurant that doesn’t deliver and we want someone to pick it up and deliver it to us — there’s an app for that, too. If we want someone to dance for one of our coworkers adorably clad in an elf costume for less than $10, well, you get the point; we have the ability to do so easily, all within minutes.

San Francisco, the quintessential tech startup capital of the country, has developed Eaze Solutions LLC, a company dubbed the “Uber for Pot” that works with dispensaries to provide a high-tech marijuana delivery service. According to the company, it has raised $1.5 million to expand outside of San Francisco, to other California cities.

How Does It Work?

The Eaze app uses a location-based service that connects customers with Eaze drivers in their areas. Drivers deliver from 8 a.m. until midnight. Each driver carries a variety of strains that are all offered through dispensaries. Users can scan their medical IDs into the app, verifying their prescribed patient status, which can take up to 24 hours. Then, they can simply pick a strain and amount and click “Request Delivery.” Sometimes the drivers will even throw in a free candy bar.

According to internal tests, the company claims to have an average delivery rate of 6 minutes, which adheres to its goal of 10 minutes. The start-up is closely linked with SPARC, one of San Francisco’s largest dispensaries, to ensure the highest quality of their goods.

Similar to food-middleman delivery service, GrubHub, partnered dispensaries pay the start-up for its web promotion and delivery services. Therefore, the front-door delivery service is free to patients.

Drivers, who make $10 per delivery, can only accept cash due to federal regulations. Their unmarked cars contain kits with pre-packaged, labeled 1/8-ounce bags — enough for 64 deliveries. According to founder Keith McCarty, formerly of Yammer, this amount means that drivers can get to patients’ homes in 10 minutes.

McCarty told the San Francisco Chronicle, “That’s a compelling value proposition […] We’re offering the revolution of on-demand services for medical marijuana patients.”

According to Chris Roberts of SF Weekly, “Eaze has no permit of any kind to deal marijuana. That’s a risky move given the federal Justice Department’s reminder to the California cannabis industry that a regulated, permitted industry is an industry that won’t get raided.”

Regardless, McCarty is not letting the issue of regulation stifle his brainchild’s success. Although medical marijuana is legal in California, it’s still considered a federally-banned substance. McCarty remains positive that Eaze is acting within the confines of the law.

With $1.5 million received during first-round funding from 40 Silicon-Valley-based angel and institutional investors, the company hopes to expand its services to other parts of California, WashingtonColorado and other states where medical marijuana is legal. Launched in late July, Eaze was providing delivery to more than 500 patients within its first two weeks of operation, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

As for the future of Eaze, the company is still negotiating with Apple Inc., and other mobile-tech leaders to come to a consensus as to whether the medical marijuana delivery app will appear in app market places.

Customers can currently try out Eaze’s delivery app for free, while each new consumer is entitled to a free 1/8-ounce bag of marijuana. Moreover, for a limited time, customers can also refer a friend during Eaze’s “Buds for Buds!” promotion for a $10 credit.

A wave of similar apps that are hitting the cannabis community may be joining Eaze as competitors.

Los Angeles-based Nestdrop, an app that got its start with delivering alcohol, hopes to deliver medical marijuana to patients in less than an hour. Like Eaze, Nestdrop requires users to upload a snapshot of their medical marijuana cards or a doctor’s prescription along with their ID card. The users then select a strain of their choice and the amount they wish to purchase. The collective that the buyer belongs to will determine the source of marijuana. The company also plans to move outside the Los Angeles area after demand increases.

Meadow is another app-based weed delivery service. However, unlike Eaze, which features its own menu, Meadow connects patients to two of San Francisco’s well-known dispensaries: the Vapor Room and San Francisco Green Delivery. The app hopes to also add more high-quality dispensaries to their roster soon.

“Our overarching goal is to implement and publicize a lawful marketplace to demonstrate to medical cannabis opponents that patients can obtain access to necessary treatment without endangering public safety or the rule of law,” the app’s creator, David Hua, told TechCrunch.

Lastly, Canary, an app that started in Seattle will launch later this year in both Seattle and Denver. The app abides by all recreational and medicinal marijuana laws on a state-by-state basis. The verification process is pretty much the same as with the aforementioned other two apps. You will be able to choose from a large list of strains from various dispensaries and can order quantities in grams and ounces, depending on your state’s cannabis laws. Where state laws permit, Canary will deliver 24/7. The app’s catalogue will also feature an array of munchies and drinks for delivery.

It’s clear that the public perception of cannabis is changing. Many people are starting to understand amazing, healing properties and why it’s important to let people have access to it. It’s no wonder why companies are creating apps that deliver medical marijuana to the doors of patients, reflecting the growing acceptance encompassing all things marijuana. In fact, it beckons the question, “Why not sooner?”

This piece first appeared in Cannabis Now.