News and Best Practices

Is a Delivery Service for You?

August 2, 2016

With the expansion of legal cannabis, a delivery service might be the next logical business step for dispensaries or new entrepreneurs. Although delivery would provide a vital service to many patients and provide convenience and privacy, it’s not an option in every state.

Even if your state permits delivery, or you’re in a state where attorneys have interpreted the law to possibly permit it, delivery is highly regulated and not without legal and practical issues. Just because your state permits medical or recreational use doesn’t mean a stand-alone service is legal or that an existing store can offer delivery.

How to determine if it’s legal

Some states have an outright ban on delivery, so that’s the first thing you need to know. If your state regulations make it clear that delivery is legal, check the city and county where you want to deliver. Laws are constantly changing, so make sure your information is up-to-date and stay informed about changes to your state and local regulations.

A business model based on delivery could help you to add services and grow the number of customers you serve. A delivery business typically requires less startup cash than a dispensary or rec store, since delivery services have fewer overhead costs. After all, a retail establishment requires not only a lease or ownership of the physical location but also the cost of utilities, maintenance, security systems, insurance and so on.

How to avoid getting Into legal trouble

If after establishing that your state, county and city allow for delivery services, and all licensing can be achieved, there are still major concerns that apply. Here’s some general advice on how to avoid getting into any unnecessary legal trouble:

  • Establish appropriate patient/customer verification, registration and recording.
  • Many states that permit delivery require drivers to have their own medical marijuana patient or caregiver card.
  • Abide by any maximum possession limits set by your state.
  • Make sure drivers and operators always have proper permits, cards or licensing on their persons at all times.
  • Never deliver out of state.
  • Follow all traffic laws and be current on your vehicle registration.

If there is any uncertainty, contact an attorney who’s knowledgeable in cannabis statutes in the state where you’ll be operating.


By Devon Landis
Dispensary Management Today articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal guidance or advice on dispensary operations. You should contact an attorney or a qualified cannabis consultant for specific compliance and dispensary/retailing advice.
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