News and Best Practices

Follow the Steps for a Successful Delivery Service

January 23, 2017

A cannabis delivery service can be an excellent way to bring medical marijuana to ill and homebound patients. However, legal delivery is available in only a few areas, such as in certain cities on the West Coast, and it is restricted to patients of registered collectives.

However, as the industry matures, other states may eventually pass laws to let dispensaries offer a delivery service. Delivery can be either an add-on to current operations or a delivery-only business model.

  • If it’s add-on, you’ll already have a list of patients entered in the state database. And you won’t have many additional expenses beyond licenses, vehicles and drivers.
  • If it’s delivery-only, you must have some means to verify that your customers are MMJ patients. And you’ll need licenses, vehicles, employees, products, storage and other requirements.

Essentials steps

Let’s say that you’re hoping to offer a delivery service in the future when state and local regulations allow it—how do you even begin operation? After you’ve consulted an attorney and your accountant to validate that you’re ready, here are several essential steps to take:

Getting the word out: First, make sure that patients know you’re offering a delivery service. Having a printed menu or announcement to distribute to your medical customers can go a long way toward getting your service recognized. It might include a list of the most popular delivery items, which leads patients to review the full menu online for ordering. If patients can see your menu, order and pay online, it will simplify and streamline the process.

Setting the territory: Deciding on a delivery area will be an important part of helping as many people as possible. Your service area will also dictate how many drivers you’ll need. There may also be some remote areas that your drivers will visit only one or two times a week.

Hiring drivers: Licensed delivery drivers can come from your own business or be contracted from a third party, depending on regulations. Drivers must be licensed by the state to transport cannabis. States may also require that you pay licensing fees and follow other guidelines.

Letting customers track: Provide a real-time GPS tracking system that customers can access on your website, finding out where exactly the delivery vehicle is and when it will arrive. In addition, or as an alternative to real-time tracking, you can text an estimated delivery time.

Keeping drivers safe: Driver safety must be a top priority, and it can usually be assured if you follow a few simple guidelines.

  • Verify the patient and delivery location before your driver is dispatched.
  • To protect against robbery, use unmarked delivery vehicles and send security staff to follow drivers on a random basis.
  • Schedule delivery during business hours only. Any orders processed after a specified hour are scheduled for delivery on the next business day.
  • Have the order ready for the customer upon arrival, so that the visit is quick. Drivers should always check the patient’s ID and medical card. If you accept payment online or over the phone, your drivers won’t need to carry cash. But if the payment is cash on delivery, request that patients have exact change. If not, keep the right amount of change inside the bag of merchandise.
  • Vehicles should be equipped with dashboard cameras. Your driver must keep the camera turned on and record the transaction from the vehicle. For safety and regulatory purposes, cannabis should not be delivered at the customer’s door or otherwise outside the vehicle.
By Eric Stone
Dispensary Management Today articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal guidance or advice on dispensary operations. You should contact an attorney or a qualified cannabis consultant for specific compliance and dispensary/retailing advice.
© 2017 CAN Performance Group, LLC. All rights reserved.
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© 2017 CAN Performance Group, LLC. All rights reserved.