Recreational marijuana users and medical marijuana patients may be able to have cannabis products delivered to their door in 2020 and 2021. House Bill 1234, which would allow for marijuana delivery services, is on its way to the house after a 6-3 approval, though not everyone is on board.
Some medical cannabis patients live too far from a dispensary and have to resort to illegal pot delivery services offered through social media and classified websites such as Craigslist. Bill sponsors Jonathan Singer and Alex Valdez intend for the bill to provide consumers with better access to cannabis product and eliminate illegal delivery.
Previous efforts to legalize cannabis delivery services have been unsuccessful over fears of potential criminal activity and issues with the Federal Government due to the plant’s schedule I status. HB 1234 aims to minimize these issues, but some fear the bill would allow big business to cash in on Colorado’s cannabis industry.
What is HB 1234?
If successful, HB 1234 would create marijuana delivery permits for licensed medical and retail marijuana centers and transporters. This license would allow licensees to deliver retail and medical cannabis products to residential addresses. Unlike delivery services such as Instacart and Door Dash, those wishing to be a marijuana delivery person will have to go through a lengthy permit process and undergo stringent training.
As the bill stands, medical marijuana delivery permits would be made available on January 2, 2020, while retail permits would roll out in 2021. The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) would be required to implement security requirements to minimize potential criminal activity. In addition to training, dispensaries would be required to track and time drivers and requiring the delivery person to verify the customer’s I.D twice.
Colorado law does not require towns and counties to implement certain marijuana laws and neither will HB 1234. The bill will allow towns and counties to opt out of providing delivery services within their jurisdiction.
Not Everyone is On Board
Though the bill was sent to the house with a 6-3 vote, some members of the Colorado marijuana industry are split on the measure. Some dispensary owners believe the bill would allow third-party delivery services into the market and steal revenue from small business. However, some have argued third-party services would be beneficial to mom-and-pop dispensaries since some stores cannot afford to offer their own delivery service.
Amendments to the bills have addressed some of these concerns, but Representative Marc Snyder still believes immediately allowing new licensees into the delivery sector without giving current shop owners a head start is not fair.
“It just seems to me that [HB 1234] is a very thinly disguised attempts to bring big interest out. No one’s looking out for the little guys. It’s about third-party business.”
Others have also pointed out the risks associated with allowing drivers to openly deliver marijuana products. Some fear drivers will be targets of robbery while others are concerned about the conflicts between federal and state law.
How Likely Is It Bill 1234 Will Become Law?
Allowing home deliveries would do wonders for the marijuana industry and the safety of the general public. Not only could it cut back on stoned driving and provide residents in rural areas access to the plant, but it could also boost revenues for marijuana dispensaries.
While the bill would be beneficial, its fate is unclear. Democrats currently control the majority of the House, and Governor Jared Polis is more receptive to marijuana legislation than his predecessor. If the bill passes, you can bet droves of people will be lining up to apply for a marijuana delivery license.
There is more to applying for a marijuana license than providing identifying information. For one, only certain individuals are eligible, plus you will have to undergo an extensive background check and complete training. One small mistake and you will have to go through the process all over again.
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