3 min read

Cannabis Businesses Shift to Delivery Amid COVID

April 9, 2020

With millions of Americans staying safe at home during the Coronavirus epidemic, marijuana delivery sales have seen a massive increase. The uncertain times have caused people to not only stock up on product, but to also consume more cannabis and buy at more frequent intervals. Brick-and-mortar dispensaries and delivery services are quickly establishing more delivery infrastructure to their businesses to meet increased demand in the market. 

Keeping Drivers and Customers Safe

Depending on your state, cannabis sales have been deemed an essential business such as a market or grocery store. Throughout the epidemic, the cannabis industry has mirrored both mainstream essential retailers (curbside pickup, express checkout) and food delivery services such as Postmates and Doordash in adapting to changing rules and regulations and public safety measures. Along with local rules and regulations, it’s also important to follow OSHA workplace safety guidelines. Workplace safety extends to delivery drivers. 

Postmates and Doordash have largely instituted a “no-contact” delivery policy where couriers leave food at the front door or a designated drop off location. Unfortunately, this method cannot be achieved by most marijuana delivery services due to the cash transaction that is required with cannabis sales due to federal banking regulations. Dispensaries and delivery services are taking precautions and thinking outside the box, though. 

Drivers should always carry and use sanitizer after each customer: cleaning frequently touched areas of their car, phone, POS terminals, and any other tools that come in contact with delivery customers. Gloves should be provided to drivers to prevent face touching.

Customers are encouraged to have exact change to cut down on contact and to reduce the amount of overall time spent at a delivery. When packing delivery orders, the same care for cleaning and sanitizing protocols should be followed after each order. Drivers can have their temperatures taken at the beginning of each shift, and should be sent home if they start feeling ill during their shift.

Running a Marijuana Delivery Service

After reviewing local rules and licensing for marijuana delivery, there are many factors a dispensary must consider when adding a delivery service to their store. Now is a great time to review local ordinances regarding cannabis deliveries.

In California, drivers are required to carry a copy of the retailer’s current license, the employee’s government-issued identification, and an identification badge provided by the employer according to <page 64 of the BCC’s Text of Regulations.  

Increased infrastructure and staffing needs are definite concerns when launching a delivery option. Partnering with a third party for deliveries is an option, but with the right delivery platform dispensaries can cut out the middleman. 

Choosing a delivery model is also a factor to consider. There are two main marijuana delivery models in California: the pizza delivery model and the ice cream truck model. The pizza delivery model is when orders are packed at a dispensary and delivered to the customer. The ice cream truck model is when a driver fills his vehicle with inventory at the beginning of the day and leaves the store.  

Having a strong delivery system that is compliant and synced to your inventory is the key to managing deliveries in-house. 

Online Ordering Platform

One way to mitigate infrastructure and staffing concerns is to find a delivery POS system with advanced features. IndicaOnline’s Delivery POS system has many features to streamline delivery logistics and is synced to menu platforms such WeedMaps. The system’s Smart Order Assignment automatically groups orders and assigns drivers based on current traffic conditions and location and is powered by Google Maps Enterprise API.    

One other factor that dispensaries and delivery services need to factor is the customer-facing online ordering platform. According to Travis Abeyta of MGRetailer, “the Coronavirus outbreak can be viewed as an accelerator for the cannabis industry’s inevitable transition into a digital marketplace.

IndicaOnline’s online ordering platform is powered by Potify which is linked directly to in-store inventory to give real-time menu options to customers for delivery or pickup. Cannabis consumers will soon have a digital buying experience more similar to Amazon.