Uber and DoorDash want to be able to deliver a joint or edible, along with your regular meal. Although plans for this are already underway, don’t expect to see it play out in the very near future (in the US, that is… if you live in Canada, that’s a whole different story). But regardless of when this all comes to fruition, the fact that a large, third-party tech and delivery company is eyeing the cannabis space, is quite a testament to how mainstream it has become.
The delivery service war
During the height of the pandemic, the convenience of food and product delivery caught on and became quite a commodity. Companies like DoorDash and Uber Eats (as well as GrubHub, Postmates, Seamless, and many others) saw a surge in food delivery orders. Uber Eats has proven to be incredibly successful for the Uber company as a whole, pulling in more than $1 billion in annual revenue on its own.
Uber also acquired Drizly, a successful alcohol delivery company, in a merger last year, so they are already delivering intoxicating substances in some regions. DoorDash also plans on getting alcohol deals in the near future. Add to that, both Uber and DoorDash have contracts with several different convenience, grocery, and drug stores; so these days, there a very few products you can’t have delivered to you, granted you don’t live in the middle of nowhere.
At this point, it only makes sense for these companies to make their way into the cannabis scene. Some delivery services that cater exclusively to weed already exist, and they’ve seen record profits over the last year. Take California-based app Eaze, for example, which has seen a raise in customer sign ups of over 70%. According to their data, an order for pot delivery in California was placed every eight seconds.
Breaking into the cannabis market
Uber announced recently that they partnered with Leafly to deliver weed from select dispensaries around Toronto. This marks the first time ever that a large, third-party delivery/tech company is delivering a substance other than alcohol, and one that is still illegal in most of the world to boot. To quickly give some background on Leafly, it’s a cannabis information website started in 2010 that lets customers shop for cannabis products from various retailers within their network.
Canadians aged 19 years or older can now order pot from three Toronto-based retailers through the Uber Eats app, the only difference is that the order will be delivered by a “certified driver” rather than their usual independent contractors. This is a major milestone for both the cannabis industry and food delivery market.
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Dave Cotter, Leafly chief product officer is elated about the deal, stating that it’s a ““a significant step in placing cannabis in the mainstream.” He added that, “We think cannabis delivery is a key part in growing in the consumer market, and we’ve been investing in delivery for the past 18 months and this is a further extension into our plans.” Although Cotter did mention that they will be following the same business model that Uber Eats is currently using in the restaurant agreements, no specifics of the revenue-sharing agreement were provided just yet.
DoorDash has also taken its first step into the cannabis world by partnering with Superette, a well-known cannabis retailer with multiple locations throughout Canada. Just like with Uber, cannabis delivery through DoorDash is reserved for those 19 years or older, and the partnership is said to include “curated menus and special collections” that consumer can only access when they shop through the DoorDash app.
“We are super excited to be able to partner with DoorDash to continue to transform how consumers engage with cannabis,” says Superette co-founder and Chief Brand Officer Drummond Munro. “In true Superette fashion, every element of the experience has been carefully considered with the goal of making our retail experience digital on the DoorDash platform.”
Waiting on the OK from the feds
So, this is all very exciting news for Canada… but what about the US? Like many big moves that are planned for the cannabis industry, third-party delivery of pot products in the US remains impossible until federal legalization happens.
That being said, both Uber and DoorDash announced plans to get into cannabis delivery in the states as soon as it becomes federally legal. Most likely, Uber will continue their partnership with Leafly while DoorDash will make their own contracts with individual dispensaries. Either way, it’s safe to safe that some plans are in the works, everyone is just waiting for the government to get a move on with policy changes (hopefully that will be very soon).
What an amazing time we live in, where not only can you have weed legally delivered straight to your door, but soon, a major tech company is showing interest in the pot conveyance sector. As we keep an eye on our neighbors to the north who already have a federal legal cannabis market, we can get a better idea for what to expect here in the states, and the convenience of marijuana delivery remains one of the fasted growing trends in the industry.
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