Until now, companies delivering marijuana to customers around the California state have faced a daunting mishmash of local regulations.
While buying weed is legal in California, cities and counties are still able to regulate or even ban the trade of cannabis. That’s why you might not have the same legal access to weed deliveries as your neighbor on the other side of the same street.
The system has made these delivery companies to follow local laws and create maps to tell drivers where can they legally go.
“In the past, delivery services have really had a hard time,” said Ian Stewart, who practices marijuana law at the Los Angeles firm Wilson Elser.
However, on January 16, 2019 the California State has approved the rules to finally allow the delivery of cannabis into almost anywhere in California, including the cities and counties that have previously banned it.
Cannabis business advocates are now fond of the marijuana expansion further into the state, saying it will help to get rid of black-marked weed sales.
The cannabis delivery problem is particularly relevant in cities like Indian Wells, located in the heart of the Coachella Valley. It is in a pretty tough place geographically, bordering a city that has legalized marijuana businesses in general on one side and a city that only permits medical marijuana deliveries on the other. The largest city near Indian Wells called Indio also bans all weed businesses, including delivery.
“It’s an affront to local control and, basically, what we interpreted as the intent of the voters,” said David Gassaway, Indian Wells community development director. “It’s more of a local control issue than specifically a marijuana topic, the state slowly creeping into local affairs more and more.
The timing couldn’t be better for The Green Team, a delivery service in the Bay Area that got a temporary state license in December. Co-owner Ali Cooper said the new law gives delivery services a much larger consumer base and the ability to scale up really quickly.
However companies like Cooper’s still can’t deliver the cannabis everywhere in the state. They’re not allowed to trade on public land and have to stay clear of schools and day care centers.
The new delivery regulation also leaves a lot of questions unanswered, said Simone Sandoval, director of licensing compliance at Highroad Consulting Group.
“I definitely think that the state’s going to need to clarify,” she said, “or there’s going to be a lot of lawsuits.”