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Are Drones the Future of Weed Delivery?

2 minute Read

You know the future is here when weed is legal and you can have it delivered via drone.

At the High Times Cannabis Cup this past weekend in San Bernardino, a suburb outside Los Angeles, cannabis delivery service Eaze demonstrated the “Drone Lifted Experience,” to illustrate just how easy drone delivery could be. During the demonstration, a done simply lowered packages into the hands of participants who walked by Eaze’s booth.

“We are a technology company at our core, so for us our goal is to continue to build technology products to help people live better lives,” says Jamie Feaster, vice president of marketing at Eaze. “We reinforce that message by doing fun things like having a drone deliver somebody a package.” While Eaze currently has no concrete plans to launch drone delivery at the moment, fantasizing about it could offer a glimpse into the future of the cannabis industry. The concept of drone weed delivery, alone, shows just how far cannabis normalization has come and its reach into other technology markets.

Of course, if drone delivery were actually to occur, companies would need to first overcome some regulatory hurdles. For instance, without a human delivering the weed, the drones would need to somehow verify that the recipient is above the legal age limit. “We can envision a world where in the future, drones would be able to identify people, via cameras maybe even face scans or eye scans,” says Feaster.

Another consideration would be getting around legal hurdles. Companies aiming to make drone weed delivery possible would potentially need to grapple with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Because cannabis is still a federally prohibited Schedule I substance, it’s possible the FAA may be reticent to allow drone weed deliveries, even if legal under state or local law.

Then there’s local law. Cannabis delivery still occupies a gray area, both legally and safety-wise. In city of Los Angeles, for example, it’s still technically illegal to deliver weed (though many businesses do it), while courriers are vulnerable to robbery or law enforcement.

While logistically and technologically possible, the viability of drone weed delivery would depend on local governance and allowances. Los Angeles just approved a host of cannabis regulations in the form of Measure M, which included legalizing delivery.

Drone delivery could enable delivery to to happen more smoothly, keeping weed out of the hands of shady grey area dealers or the cops who intercept them. “If you don’t allow for legal delivery, people will do what’s easier, often turning to the illicit market,” says Sheena Shiravi, head of public relations for Eaze.
Drones would also make weed deliveries faster, without forcing the courier to spend extra time parking and finding the recipient — hence a company could economize on the technology and make more deliveries in a shorter period of time. A city like Los Angeles is prime for this, says Feaster, what with heavy traffic, population density, and congestion.

“I would imagine that within our lifetime, we’ll have a robust network of drones,” he says, “dropping stuff off to people’s doorsteps.”

Are Drones the Future of Weed Delivery?