Last month, the Office of Cannabis Management announced the distribution of its first set of retail licenses. However, as pointed out by The City this week, few people noticed that although the opening of weed-selling stores is still stalled (more on that later), the licensees are currently allowed to start delivery services.
Let us explain. The state’s Dormitory Authority is in charge of assigning each licensee a location to open a weed shop. They will also instruct each business on the build-out of their retail stores using an approved list of architects. That process has been, expectedly, very slow.
In order to make up for the lag, the Office of Cannabis Management is allowing certain operators to "fulfill delivery orders from a location obtained by the licensee that has been approved by the office."
Aaron Ghitelman, a spokesperson for the Office of Cannabis Management, explained the situation clearly to The City: “We are allowing adult-use retail dispensary non-storefront delivery as a means of jumpstarting adult-use cannabis product sales.”
There will, of course, be regulations to abide by as previously laid out by the agency.
Each business will only be allowed to employ up to 25 individuals for delivery services and all sales will have to be carried out through ground transportation. Despite the fact that licenses are assigned based on specific counties, deliveries may be made across boundaries (so, for example, a Brooklyn licensee may only operate a store in Brooklyn but may set up delivery services that reach Manhattan or ever Westchester County).
Upon delivery, the operators will be required to verify that buyers are at least 21 years old.
As for payments, we should note that the sale of cannabis is still illegal under federal law. Credit card companies are, therefore, not yet jumping at the opportunity of being part of the newly developing industry. As a result, you can expect a lot of delivery services to require payments via debit card or cash.
The legalization of weed in New York is a very big deal and, clearly, officials are taking their time in developing proper guidelines, strategies and processes around the various aspects of the business. We, however, expect this particular piece of news about delivery services to set things in motion.