Recreational pot became legal in California on New Year’s Day. However, although any adult 21-years and older can now buy weed, grow six plants at home, carry an ounce on their person, and use it in the privacy of their homes, there are still laws in place regulating the cannabis industry and its consumers. One is the lack of recreational weed delivery, which Los Angeles plans to address in Phase 3 of its licensing processes.
Access to a Marijuana Delivery Service
Currently, weed delivery is illegal in Los Angeles. There is just one exception to this rule: Only legitimate medical patients can use a marijuana delivery service, and then only from a licensed medical cannabis dispensary. Recreational users do not yet have access to having drivers deliver to their doorsteps. If you search “marijuana delivery near me,” you will find companies only offer this to medical patients.
There are good reasons for this. Many people with serious health concerns are unable to pick up their own medicine at a local dispensary. Some are too sick. Others terminally ill. Still others are on heavy medications that make driving very dangerous for themselves and others on the road. For this reason, Los Angeles allows licensed dispensaries to deliver weed to members of their medical cooperatives.
If you want to use a marijuana delivery service now, then you need a qualifying medical condition and a letter of recommendation from a California-licensed physician permitting you to use cannabis to treat it. You do not need a Medical Marijuana Card, although having one is advisable, since it offers more protections, widens your access to cannabis, and exposes you to affordable coupons and discounts.
Status of Weed Delivery in Los Angeles
Having said that, it may not be worth spending the money on doctor’s appointments and Medical Marijuana Cards anymore. The city of Los Angeles is about to roll out Phase 3 of its licensing processes. Although nobody can be sure just yet what licenses will become available under Phase 3, officials have been hinting at licensing a marijuana delivery service or two, and people have been demanding it.
The city has been very, very slow to license its cannabis industry. In fact, it only began accepting license applications on August 1 for cultivators, manufacturers, and testing facilities, and this after months of delay. It has met much criticism for this, since most commercial pot businesses are wasting money waiting. Thus far, there are only around 150 retailers with licenses to sell weed in Los Angeles.
No growers, no processors, no testers have licenses yet. The delay has been a huge financial burden for many, since they have been patiently paying thousands of dollars in monthly rentals for commercial space, all while waiting for licenses before they can even begin operations and generate income. For many, this is inexcusable. For consumers who voted for access, it is near criminal.
Understanding Phase 3 Licensing in Los Angeles
To get the cannabis industry up and running in Los Angeles, the city decided on licensing businesses in different stages, called phases. Phase 1 licensed those retailers currently operating within the city’s jurisdiction, but nobody else. Phase 2 began on August 1 and is currently running. It limits applicants to those that were already operating prior to January 1.
To qualify for a license under Phase 2, businesses must have already been supplying an existing medical dispensary before 2017. Additionally, they must qualify for the city’s social equity program. This does not include delivery companies, for now, only cultivators, manufacturers, and testing centers. The city was accepting applications until September 1. It is now reviewing them.
The public will enter the fray in Phase 3. The department will start accepting applications from the public in this stage of the licensing process. The Department of Cannabis Regulation has yet to set a date for the rollout of Phase 3, but experts hint that it should start by January 1 next year. The department is still in the process of drafting regulations and is hesitant to commit itself to any sort of deadline.
Many believe that Phase 3 will include licenses from the public for dispensaries, as well as licenses for weed delivery. Hopes are high, but there is no confirmation of this yet. However, with consumers demanding an active and functioning cannabis market, public pressure is on the department to start licensing delivery companies soon.
There is no telling just when Los Angeles will license even one marijuana delivery service, let alone several. All we know is that it will at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later. Many believe it will happen in Phase 3, as those are the whispers coming out from official circles. Until the city becomes organized and licenses weed delivery firms, consumers will have to continue using the medical route.