Hashish supply providers are standard, however questions stay about their legality in lots of adult-use hashish states.
For instance, in California, the place particular supply license frameworks are in place, hashish supply is authorized and broadly used. Eaze, a San Francisco-based hashish supply app, studies that customers order hashish each ten seconds through their app.
In Washington state, although, hashish supply has by no means been made explicitly authorized. There is no such thing as a state license out there to ship a gram of flower and a vape cartridge. However that hasn’t stopped risk-taking entrepreneurs from serving the general public demand.
Washington enterprise checks the bounds
Again in 2014, The Stranger, an alt weekly in Seattle, Washington, turned the highlight on Winterlife, one in every of numerous semi-clandestine supply providers working within the murky authorized house that opened up after voters accredited Initiative 502. By early 2016, Seattle officers estimated there have been about 30 illicit hashish supply companies working within the metropolis. Later that 12 months Seattle Police created a sting operation and arrested a handful of supply drivers in an effort to curb the follow.
Now supply has returned to the Evergreen State in a really public approach. In late December, billboards appeared alongside highways in south Puget Sound promoting Pelican, a brand new hashish supply service.
So, is supply now authorized in Washington? Possibly, and perhaps not. In keeping with Brian Smith, Communications Director for the Washington State Liquor and Hashish Board (LCB), state legislation “doesn’t prohibit [cannabis delivery], nevertheless it doesn’t enable it both.”
Final week Leafly tracked down Dave and Tina Comeau, who based Pelican Delivers in Sept. 2019, and requested how they’re working so brazenly—and the way they consider it’s authorized. The Comeaus personal two state-licensed Higher Buds dispensary places in Port Hadlock and Silverdale. They’ve plans to open a 3rd retailer quickly in Longview, close to the Oregon border. They are saying they determined to open a supply service as a result of so a lot of their clients have been asking for it—and since they consider they’ve found a method to do it legally.
“We considered it—we all know there isn’t a authorized framework for supply [in Washington], so we appeared on the legal guidelines and got here up with an answer for supply that works with the present Washington state legal guidelines and guidelines,” Dave Comeau instructed Leafly.
The revised hashish supply statute
Business hashish supply just isn’t particularly allowed in Washington, however hashish supply itself isn’t outright prohibited. In 2017, Gov. Jay Inslee signed SB 5131 into legislation, which permits buddies to share or present hashish to at least one one other in choose quantities. The pertinent passage within the legislation reads:
“The supply by an individual twenty-one years of age or older to a number of individuals twenty-one years of age or older, throughout a single twenty-four-hour interval, for noncommercial functions and never conditioned upon or finished in reference to the availability or receipt of economic consideration, of any of the next marijuana merchandise, just isn’t a violation of this part, this chapter, or some other provisions of Washington state legislation.”
One grownup might ship a present quantity of hashish, for non-commercial functions, to a different grownup—so long as it’s lower than “i) One half-ounce of useable marijuana; (ii) Eight ounces of marijuana-infused product in strong kind; (iii) Thirty-six ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid kind; or (iv) Three and one-half grams of marijuana concentrates,” in line with the statute.
The legislation was meant to permit buddies to share a joint, basically—or to assist out a buddy with a spare gram or two. In actual fact, Leafly’s Ben Adlin appeared into the query of friend-gifting and friend-delivery final 12 months (see Purchaser beware: Is it authorized to choose up hashish for a pal?). Smith instructed Adlin that choosing up a eighth for a pal when you’re making a run to the native hashish retailer wasn’t precisely authorized.
“As innocuous as this situation sounds, if it had been allowed there’d be no method to stop illegal supply providers,” Smith mentioned. “It will additionally complicate prosecution of illegal possession with intent to ship.”
The authorized loophole
Would someone really be arrested and tried for choosing up an eighth for a pal? “I doubt someone can be prosecuted with the felony,” Smith replied. “That mentioned, it might depend upon the jurisdiction in addition to the info and circumstances surrounding the change.”
The Comeaus, it seems, have determined to problem the authorized limits of the friend-gifting dynamic.
Dave Comeau instructed Leafly final week that Pelican Delivers stays compliant with state legislation as a result of they use contracted, third-party supply drivers who’re paid to make use of the app, to not ship hashish. That, he mentioned, qualifies as a “non-commercial” objective.
“The purchasers can solely order half the authorized restrict. There’s a gifting rule the place I can really provide you with half the authorized restrict of product with out it being a misdemeanor or felony or something like that,” he mentioned.
The Comeaus assert that their app meets all different state compliance necessities. The app maintains the flexibility to hint each hashish buy, verifies the ID of the buyer initially and the top of the transaction, solely permits gross sales under authorized buy quantities, and makes use of GPS monitoring to maintain drivers inside state traces.
“We need to be actually compliant,” mentioned Tina Comeau. “We need to be sure minors aren’t getting product. We need to be sure we’re doing this as authorized as we probably can.”
Pelican Delivers’ app
Right here’s how Pelican Delivers works. The shopper downloads the Pelican app, indicators up with their title and supply location, and makes use of the customer-facing portal to scan their ID. Third-party ID verification software program then confirms they possess an precise state-licensed ID and are of authorized age to buy hashish.
From there, the buyer can seek for and choose merchandise from state-licensed dispensaries of their space, add them to a cart, and enter their financial institution data for bank-to-bank switch of funds as soon as they’re able to buy—that’s, funds from the buyer’s financial institution to the dispensary’s. Additionally they supply bank card processing.
As soon as the buyer has checked out, the app searches for a driver within the space, very similar to if you order an Uber or Lyft. From there, a driver accepts the order, receives the order particulars, and is routed to the retail location to choose up the order.
When the motive force will get to the shop, the dispensary scans the merchandise via their POS system to fulfill state traceability necessities, and the buyer’s state ID is checked but once more. A pick-up button additionally seems within the driver’s app portal as soon as inside, and as soon as clicked, the motive force has formally “bought” the supply by releasing the buyer’s funds to the retail location through bank-to-bank switch.
“The button is ring-fenced and solely reveals up if the [driver] is within the retailer,” mentioned Comeau. That is necessary: The one authorized hashish transactions underneath Washington state legislation are these finished inside a dispensary.
When the funds are launched, the motive force additionally receives the details about the place to ship the order, and the motive force heads to the shopper’s deal with. On the buyer’s door, the motive force scans the shopper’s ID but once more, and arms them their hashish—nonetheless sealed in its packaging. The driving force then checks the order off as full within the app, and is paid immediately. (As for tipping drivers, that will also be finished via the app on the time of check-out or with money on the time of supply.)
“The driving force’s hold 100% of their ideas they usually additionally get to maintain 80% of the [delivery] charge,” mentioned Tina Comeau.
Are you able to patent it?
The Comeaus consider that the patent on their hashish supply software program—the primary of its variety—additionally has legitimizing pressure. And, to some extent, it does—particularly in terms of attracting potential buyers. “We do have an issued hashish supply patent for the strategies and technique of the right way to do hashish supply in a extremely regulated market,” mentioned Dave Comeau.
Acquiring a patent for an app doesn’t essentially imply the product is authorized, although. Brian Galvin, the Comeaus’ patent agent, made it clear that the patent doesn’t give them immunity from prosecution.
“I’m not an lawyer, I’m a patent agent,” mentioned Galvin. “I’m not advising them on regulatory points. In terms of patents, there’s no requirement that the invention or using or not it’s authorized.”
Right here’s one other complicating issue. As a result of there’s no official license for shopper hashish supply, supply firms like Pelican Delivers don’t fall inside the jurisdiction of the Liquor and Hashish Board. The LCB’s energy over hashish firms comes from its licensing authority. Break a rule, and the LCB can droop or revoke your license. However the place there’s no license, the LCB doesn’t have legislation enforcement energy—the company can solely refer instances to police businesses.
After all, this all could also be moot in just a few months. In keeping with Smith, the regulatory company is working with Gov. Jay Inslee’s workplace to craft a invoice that will enable licensed producers/processors to ship medical marijuana to medical sufferers. It’s unclear whether or not such a invoice can be restricted to medical sufferers or cowl all retail hashish transactions.
For now, the Comeaus are persevering with to function and increase. They are saying the supply service is kind of standard, significantly amongst dad and mom who’d slightly pay the supply charge than pay for childcare, they usually have plans to increase it to different medical and adult-use hashish states. They’re additionally creating extra software program for the app in the meanwhile, together with applications that may enable dispensaries to work together with clients through textual content and e-mail.