by The Real Dirt | Nov 22, 2021 | Blog, Business, Cannabis Business, Cannabis News, Culture, Industry News, Legalization
Uber will allow users in Ontario, Canada, to place orders for cannabis on its Uber Eats app, marking the ride-hailing giant’s foray into the booming business, a company spokesperson said on Monday.
Uber Eats will list cannabis retailer Tokyo Smoke on its marketplace on Monday, following which customers can place orders from the Uber Eats app and then pick it up at their nearest Tokyo Smoke store, the spokesperson said.
Uber, which already delivers liquor through its Eats unit, has had its sights set on the burgeoning cannabis market for some time now. Its CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told media in April the company will consider delivering cannabis when the legal coast is clear in the United States.
With more than three years into Canada’s legalization of recreational cannabis, the country is trying to fix its ailing pot market, where illegal producers still control a large share of total annual sales.
The partnership will help Canadian adults purchase safe, legal cannabis, helping combat the underground illegal market which still accounts for over 40 percent of all non-medical cannabis sales nationally, Uber said on Monday.
Global cannabis stocks tracker MJ ETF climbed 2 percent, while Uber’s shares were up 1.2 percent at $44.78 in premarket trading.
Cannabis sales in Canada will total $4 billion in 2021 and are forecast to grow to $6.7 billion in 2026, according to data from industry research firm BDS Analytics.
Asked about the possibility of expansion into other Canadian provinces, or in the United States, an Uber spokesperson said there is “nothing more to share at this time”.
“We will continue to watch regulations and opportunities closely market by market. And as local and federal laws evolve, we will explore opportunities with merchants who operate in other regions,” the Uber spokesperson told Reuters.
Last year’s pandemic-induced stricter mandates and lockdowns spurred demand for cannabis-related products from customers who were stuck at home with limited entertainment options.
by Travis C | Nov 1, 2021 | 420 News, Blog, Business, Cannabis Business, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Culture, Legalization, Politics
Update 11/2/21: The provision to crack down on the grey market in DC was removed prior to voting on the overall bill on November 2, 2021.
Despite legalizing cannabis in 2014, Washington DC has yet to see a single legal sale of recreational cannabis. But that doesn’t mean the cannabis industry in DC isn’t thriving.
However that could all be changing after the DC Council will vote on a new measure on November 2, 2021.
During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many Washington DC medical cannabis patients had their medical cards expire due to lack of government services. Patients must register through the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) because there is no cannabis specific regulatory agency.
Under the current law, those seeking medical marijuana have to first get approval from medical practitioners registered with the ABRA, some of whom charge up to $200 a visit. To try and resolve the issue, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson introduced an emergency bill that aims to allow qualifying patients and caregivers whose registration cards expired or will expire between March 1, 2020 to Jan. 31, 2022 to continue purchasing, possessing and administering cannabis until Jan. 31, 2022.
However the emergency bill includes other measures that would severely cripple if not crumble entirely the grey market cannabis industry that is currently thriving in Washington DC. The same bill that aims to help medical cannabis patients also would enable city agencies and law enforcement to impose fines, revoke licenses, and shut the doors of non-authorized businesses engaging in buying, selling, or otherwise “exchanging” marijuana to its customers.
The Washington DC Grey Market
To understand the potential impact of this bill, it is important to understand how the “cannabis industry” operates in Washington DC. Despite legalizing recreational cannabis possession, cultivation and use in 2014, there is a rider put into the original bill preventing any funds from being spent on the establishment of a legal cannabis industry.
Because of this rider, known as the Harris Rider, there is no regulatory agency or current architecture for a recreational cannabis industry in DC. This hasn’t stopped the people of DC from starting their own underground “legal” cannabis industry that has grown exponentially since its inception.
Known as a “grey market” because it operates in a loophole of the current law, the cannabis industry in Washington DC operates entirely different from any other legal cannabis industry in the country. Here’s how it works:
- A customer enters a smoke shop, hydroponic store, or finds an online delivery service
- The customer must “donate” a certain fee for a product (i.e. $45 donation for a T-shirt)
- The customer then receives a “gift” in the form of cannabis products (i.e. cartridge, flower, edibles)
It is that simple, but can be easier said than done in an underground industry that is entirely unregulated. This can lead customers to pay higher prices for smaller quantities of cannabis, with no way to judge the quality for themselves prior to purchase, mainly in the case of delivery services.
If Mendelson’s bill passes however, the entire grey market could be shut down in a matter of months. But if the 2022 Budget Proposal passes in its current state, it may not be all bad news.
Removing the Harris Rider
Although President Joe Biden does not support broad cannabis legalization on the federal level and left the Harris Rider in his 2022 Budget Proposal, legislators had a different idea. After the House of Representatives removed the Harris Rider in June 2021 passing it on to the Senate Appropriations Committee, Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy passed the bill through with more additions, but notably kept the Harris Rider out.
The slightly modified legislation also contains several other cannabis provisions, including a request to continue an existing protection for state medical marijuana laws, a call on the federal government to reconsider policies that fire employees for cannabis, criticism of the restrictive drug classification system that impedes scientific research and encouragement to develop technologies to detect THC-impaired driving.
If the 2022 Budget Proposal passes in its current state, the recreational cannabis industry would no longer be prohibited in Washington DC. In other words, the grey market would no longer be necessary. But in the case of Washington DC having a functional legal cannabis industry in 2022, that’s a big “IF”.
by The Real Dirt | Jul 23, 2021 | Blog, Business, Cannabis Business, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Culture, Industry News, Legalization
Two days after Denver issued its first-ever cannabis delivery license to a dispensary, the first transporter license was granted to a company whose co-founder suffered legal consequences for trafficking the substance decades ago.
Ari and Karina Cohen, co-founders of the cannabis transportation company Doobba, were awarded the license Thursday.
Applicants who qualify for Denver’s social equity designation are the only ones who can apply for cannabis transporter permits until July 1, 2024. After that, licensed cannabis stores can conduct their own delivery services.
Established cannabis stores must obtain a delivery license and they must contract with a transportation license holder until the July sunset date.
Ari qualified as a social equity transporter because he was convicted of a cannabis-related felony about 30 years ago, Karina confirmed.
“Our business model is to partner with very specific dispensaries,” she said. “Our biggest thing in this whole journey is to end cannabis prohibition.”
Colorado law specifies social equity applicants must meet one of three criteria as well as have at least a 51 percent ownership of the company.
The applicant must have lived in the state for at least 15 years between 1980 and 2010 in a census tract designated as an opportunity zone or disproportionate impacted area; or they, a parent, guardian, sibling, spouse or child were arrested, convicted or subject to civil asset forfeiture related to a cannabis investigation; or the applicant’s yearly income the year prior did not exceed 50 percent of the state’s median income.
She said Doobba has been talking to at least three cannabis companies about partnering with them for delivery services, and the company will start with two drivers.
Cohen said she’s not sure when her company will finalize a contract with a dispensary, but that she hopes to do so within the next couple of weeks.
She also said Doobba intends to help other social equity applicants navigate the licensing process because “it can be confusing.”
“Ari and I both have a lot of business acumen, and we want to pay it forward and help others stand up and be successful,” Cohen said.
Strawberry Fields received the first delivery permit for a licensed cannabis business on Tuesday, and representatives said they have been in talks with Doobba.
by The Real Dirt | Jul 21, 2021 | 420 News, Blog, Business, Cannabis Business, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Culture, Industry News, Legalization
Ever had one of those lazy days where you don’t want to get off the couch, even to buy cannabis? Soon, you won’t have to.
Strawberry Fields, a marijuana cultivation company with five Colorado dispensaries, including one at 3453 S. Yosemite St., was awarded Denver’s first cannabis delivery license Tuesday
“I think it’s going to open up a lot of different avenues and outlets, more availability for our (medical cannabis) patients and consumers,” said Ethan Shean, chief retail operations officer for Strawberry Fields.
The service will not be immediately available, however.
Retail cannabis outlets must contract with companies that have obtained a cannabis transportation license, and none of those have been issued, although city officials told BusinessDen those applications could be approved within the next couple weeks.
Shean said the ability to deliver products will help Strawberry Fields connect with homebound medical cannabis patients and to people who have limited transportation.
“That is part of the inclusion that we want,” Shean said. “The customers and the patients who may not have access to come to one of our locations could be patients who rely on public transportation. We want to be accessible and convenient.”
Strawberry Fields opened in 2010 as a medical dispensary before adding recreational sales when it became legal in Colorado. The company is in communication with a few people who have applied for cannabis transportation licenses, Shean said.
State law governs how much cannabis can purchased per day, which is up to one ounce of “flower” per person or eight grams of concentrate with more than 800 milligrams of THC.
The city of Denver will only allow people who qualify as a “social equity applicant” to apply for medical and retail cannabis transportation licenses until July 1, 2024. Transporters can contract with multiple cannabis stores for their services. Deliveries must take place between 8 a.m. and midnight.
Existing retail and medical cannabis stores must contract with transportation licensees until July 1, 2024. After that, licensed dispensaries will be able to conduct deliveries themselves.
by The Real Dirt | Jun 28, 2021 | 420 News, Blog, Business, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Industry News
Applications are now open for marijuana delivery and transporter licenses in Denver for the first time in the city’s history, the Department of Excise and Licenses announced.
The city is also accepting applications for new marijuana store locations for the first time since 2016, in addition to applications for marijuana cultivation and manufacturing licenses.
This comes two months after Denver changed its marijuana policy to allow for social equity delivery and hospitality businesses where patrons can consume marijuana on the premises. Applications for the hospitality business licenses are expected to open in November, the department said.
“This is a big part of the biggest overhaul in marijuana rules and regulations since initial legalization that the mayor signed into law on 4/20,” said Eric Escudero, spokesman for the Department of Excise and Licenses.
Under Denver’s new marijuana policy, there is no cap on the number of licenses and permits available, and there is no deadline to apply.
Delivery licenses will only be available to social equity applicants until 2024. Licenses for stores, transporters, cultivations, manufacturing and the new hospitality establishments will be limited to social equity applicants until 2027.
Social equity applicants are defined as Colorado residents who have never had a marijuana license revoked and meet one of the following social equity criteria:
- Applicant lived in an opportunity zone or a disproportionately impacted area between 1980 and 2010
- Applicant or immediate family was arrested, convicted or suffered civil asset forfeiture due to a marijuana offense
- Applicant’s household income doesn’t exceed 50% of the state median income
By providing exclusivity to social equity applicants, Denver officials say they are trying to make up for the damage caused by the War on Drugs and the unequal persecution of disadvantaged communities for marijuana offenses.