Cannabis is big business in this country. In some states, competition among dispensaries is fierce. It is so fierce that home delivery is the new battleground that gives one dispensary an advantage over another. If you owned a cannabis dispensary, would you offer delivery?
Despite marijuana still being illegal at the federal level, the combined U.S. market for both marijuana and CBD products was worth some $22 billion in 2020. It is expected to grow at just under 14% CAGR between late 2021 and 2026. That is a lot of money for business owners to compete for. With that much at stake, it seems only reasonable that pharmacy owners would do everything they could to increase market share. This includes home delivery.
The Current State of Affairs
Cannabis home delivery is fairly normal in some states. It is still not allowed in others. Yet this is no different than cannabis policies in general. Cannabis is controlled at the state level and state laws tend to differ. The one thing all cannabis-friendly states have in common is the knowledge that they are acting in defiance of federal law. That affects home delivery.
As things currently stand, your major private delivery companies will not touch cannabis deliveries – even when cannabis products are for medical use. CBD products are another matter. Because CBD and industrial hemp are legal under federal law, shippers are more likely to be okay with them.
The current state of affairs has marijuana dispensaries and medical cannabis pharmacies handling delivery on a case-by-case basis. It is a lot like pizza delivery. Each local pizza shop determines for itself whether home delivery is viable. Those that choose to deliver take on the responsibility of hiring drivers, paying for vehicles, etc.
A Home Delivery App
What would really bring the cannabis industry into the modern age is a home delivery app. The app would be something like Uber Eats for the cannabis space. A patient or customer would pull up the app, choose a dispensary or pharmacy, place an order, and then wait for the delivery service to arrive. Easy, right?
Making such an app work would first require Washington to get marijuana off the Schedule I list of controlled substances. Then states would have to get on board with private delivery services operating independently from pharmacies and dispensaries. It could all work, but it would require a greater level of cooperation than we currently see.
Missing Out on Market Share
All of this is to say that dispensaries and pharmacies choosing not to deliver would be voluntarily missing out on market share. We can already see this in action. For example, Utah is a medical-only state that just recently gave the green light to home delivery. Likewise, Beehive Farmacy is a licensed pharmacy with locations in Salt Lake City and Brigham City. They have made the decision to offer medical marijuana delivery for Utah.
Because there are only fourteen licensed pharmacies in Utah at the time of this writing, the competition is pretty stiff right now. It would seem that Utah pharmacies have no choice but to begin offering home delivery. Otherwise, how are those that do not deliver going to compete with those that do?
If you owned a dispensary or pharmacy, you would have to consider whether you’re willing to give up revenue generated by home delivery. Yes, there are pizza places that still don’t deliver. But they are in the minority, and they are also losing out on a certain amount of revenue. Do cannabis dispensaries and pharmacies want to make that same mistake? Probably not.