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No High From the Sky: CA Clips Wings of Drone Pot Delivery

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on September 12, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It was probably just a pipe dream, the thought that now that weed was legalized in the Golden State, drones could start dropping doobies from the sky. And not just the hazy hops of lazy stoners -- cannabusinesses too would've loved to offer the service to customers.

Alas, California's buzzkill Bureau of Cannabis Control has already shot down drone pot delivery, before it even got off the ground.

Drone Don'ts

Last week the Cannabis Control board released its initial Business Licensing Program Regulations. Contained therein is this heartbreaking transportation restriction: "Transportation may not be done by aircraft, watercraft, rail, drones, human powered vehicles, or unmanned vehicles." Considering other restrictions that require vehicles or trailers transporting cannabis to contain lock boxes, and that marijuana products must be locked in those boxes during transport, that pretty much rules out drone delivery even for legalized weed.

The regulations also likely prohibit sending marijuana in the mail:

Deliveries may be made only in person by enclosed motor vehicle. Cannabis goods may not be visible to the public during deliveries. Cannabis goods may not be left in an unattended motor vehicle unless the vehicle has an active alarm system. Vehicles used for delivery must have a dedicated, active GPS device that enables the dispensary to identify the geographic location of the vehicle during delivery.

Delivery Dos

Golden State cannabusinesses are advised to familiarize themselves with the near-500-page list of regulations, which cover everything from licensing and retail sales to testing and environmental impact rules. Those with existing small businesses specializing in marijuana or looking to break into the budding weed market should be aware that federal and state laws currently conflict when it comes to cannabis, and, even where it is recreationally legal, marijuana remains one of the most highly regulated industries and those regulations can vary from state to state.

So contact a good lawyer before bringing your marijuana small business to market.

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