California Gives Green Light to Marijuana Home Delivery
New state regulation makes it easier to buy cannabis in previously prohibited areas, but local authorities are pushing back.
The police didn’t want it. Neither did local officials. But the public demanded it. And now, pot companies in California can deliver marijuana directly to your home.
Think of it as a kind of Uber Eats for the cannabis consumer.
“The public spoke loud and clear in favor of statewide delivery,” said Alex Traverso, spokesman for the state’s cannabis bureau, according to USA Today. That was after the bureau issued the new regulation allowing home delivery anywhere.
As has been the case with many issues involving marijuana, public officials and law enforcement have been slow to catch up with public demand. Only about 30 percent of local jurisdictions passed laws regulating marijuana use, creating a situation in which delivery companies had to draw up extremely complicated maps for where their drivers could and could not go.
But the new regulation is designed to change that. If you live in a California city or county that doesn’t allow cannabis production or sales (so-called Pot Deserts), you can still have it delivered to your home. That’s what the people wanted in the Golden State, and that’s what they got.
California First, But Not Last
The home delivery decision makes California the first state to allow people to order marijuana and have it delivered to their doorstep. But with demand high, it is unlikely it will be the last.
For example, Massachusetts officials are close to finalizing a plan that would allow home delivery in that state. A subcommittee of the state’s Cannabis Control Commission has already approved the plan, citing a concern that illegal drug dealers are filling the void where home deliveries are not allowed.
As in California, officials in Massachusetts pointed out that medical marijuana patients often have difficulty traveling to a dispensary and that home delivery of cannabis is needed service for them.
New Jersey lawmakers also are expected to debate home delivery this spring.
However, despite the new California regulation, local officials still could pass ordinances specifically banning home delivery. Some already have. The potential for legal entanglements involving contradictory state and local laws seems possible.
Police chiefs opposed the measure because it could lead to difficulties in enforcement and unreported pot transactions. The League of Cities opposed the measure, saying it takes away local control by allowing pot deliveries in cities that banned marijuana production and sales. They also feared it could lead to a chaotic patchwork quilt of local laws.
Indian Wells in the Greater Palm Springs area provides an example of the latter. The small city of about 5,000 does not allow marijuana deliveries. It sits next to another town that does. On the other side of Indian Wells, there’s a city that allows delivery, but only for medical marijuana. The nearby city of Indio has banned marijuana completely, including deliveries.
Obviously, the many contradictory laws in a relatively small area incredibly confusing. But local officials and police will need to figure it out. That’s why Indian Wells Community Development Director David Gassaway told the Desert Sun the new regulation is “an affront to local control” and accused the state of “slowly creeping into local affairs more and more.”