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February 23, 2024
8 min to read

DoorDash for Weed: A Guide to Cannabis Delivery Services

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Hayley Heidelbaugh

As legal marijuana spreads across the United States, new concerns around accessibility, distribution, and automation are arising.

That’s not surprising if you consider that each year, the industry rakes in several billion dollars more than the last. It doesn’t appear that this growth will stop anytime soon. In fact, revenue from retail cannabis sales is projected to increase by an additional 13.93 percent between 2024 and 2028.

The demand for weed has skyrocketed in response to legalization, and even though there are more legal dispensaries than ever before, some medical and recreational consumers are being left out.

Brick-and-mortar dispensaries aren’t accessible to every prospective consumer. Large numbers of elderly, disabled, or anxiety-prone cannabis users are unable or unwilling to go to B&M weed dispensaries. For these people, delivery services are a godsend, offering access to high-quality legal cannabis products.

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Other recreational users and medical patients are disadvantaged by geography alone. Although states with long-standing legality—I’m looking at you, California and Colorado—host dispensaries galore in their major cities, rural areas are often dry zones. Part of that is just economics. It’s harder to make money selling anything when there are fewer potential customers in the area—so business owners tend to prefer more populated areas.

For customers in some of those areas, cannabis delivery may provide an answer. (However, some rural counties and municipalities have deliberately shut out commercial cannabis sales with restrictive local ordinances that apply even to delivery services.)

Cannabis delivery services are an innovation of the black market. Going back at least to the 1980s, enterprising weed dealers in densely populated cities like New York and San Francisco offered delivery to their customers, often by bicycle like other big city couriers used (and still use). But that’s another story.

Today, we’re examining legal cannabis delivery services—where they’re available, how they work, how to order, and their legality.

How do cannabis delivery services work?

Point-of-sale (POS) and e-commerce software have automated retail into the superhighway it is today. Services geared specifically for marijuana distributors, including Dutchie and Cova, have streamlined both the customer-facing and back-end sides of the industry.

These software options are designed to lift some of the burden off transporters, business owners, and retail sellers. Delivery services in their current form wouldn’t exist if not for technical automation.

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Ordering cannabis products for delivery

The ins and outs differ between services, but broadly, customers place their orders through a web browser or app—or sometimes by phone. Most delivery services are part of a brick-and-mortar dispensary, but some are standalone operations. Either way, they usually offer direct ordering from their website and the option to use third-party portals like Leafly and Weedmaps.

Shoppers may be asked for their address upfront to confirm that they’re within the delivery area. You’ll likely need to provide this info again at checkout. (Typically, you can create an account that saves the details so it’s quicker the next time you order.)

If all is running smoothly, shoppers can view the dispensary’s menu online, including sales and other special deals.

Vape carts, bud, and other popular weed products may be purchasable through a delivery service. Concentrate lovers can stock up on waxy concentrates like live resin. Some delivery services even carry vaping accessories or devices, including portable herb vaporizers and dab pens.

Add items to your cart before heading to the checkout. Make sure your order is set to delivery and not pick up, a more common service. You’ll be asked for information like proof of age, delivery window, and address. If you exceed your daily purchase limit, the order should fail to go through. Limits vary from state to state.

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Receiving cannabis delivery orders

Same-day delivery drivers use GPS tracking to reach the address you’ve entered. Meanwhile, recipients can stay up to date with order tracking. A valid photo I.D. must be shown upon delivery—yes, even if you already provided your proof of age at checkout. All forms of identification will need to match up.

Most services require a residential address and deliver straight to your doorstep. In certain urban areas of California, it’s customary to meet drivers at their vehicles to protect those transporting and handing over sought-after goods. That said, deliveries occur during daylight to keep couriers and recipients safe, regardless of location.

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Eaze

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Aptly nicknamed the “Uber of weed,” Eaze is a San Francisco-based cannabis delivery service catering to dozens of cities across California and Michigan. The Eaze mobile app effortlessly connects customers to local dispensaries. Browse menus, place an order, and have cannabis delivered straight to your doorstep.

Paying for cannabis delivery

As with any legal marijuana transaction, debit (cashless ATM) or cash payments are standard. Digital payment services like Zelle or CashApp might also be available. Credit card payments won’t be an option until weed is legalized federally, whether you’re shopping in-person or ordering ahead through the Internet.

Dutchie Pay, by way of a bank transfer, makes it possible to pay for an order in advance.

Tips are encouraged and delivery fees vary. Free at-home delivery isn’t certain, even for medical patients. These services are still considered a luxury that you’ll often need to pay extra for.

How common are cannabis delivery services?

Cannabis delivery services are becoming a regular feature in many U.S. locations. They’re still not a guarantee, and even some recreational states have hit the brakes on non-medical delivery. States like New Jersey and Vermont permit medical marijuana delivery, while recreational transactions are in-person only.

Unsurprisingly, delivery services such as Weedmaps and Leafly experienced a sharp popularity surge at the height of COVID-19. That upward trend has continued into 2024.

Through 2020, Apple’s App Store rejected apps the company saw as promoting marijuana or vape products. Even legal dispensaries and delivery services were subject to removal. Policies have since been updated, and since 2021, legally compliant cannabis entities have been allowed by Apple.

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Nugg Club

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Nugg Club is the first and only marijuana subscription box. Delivered to a growing number of California cities, each order is custom-tailored to the recipient's preferences. Receive five to seven connoisseur-approved products valued at over $225, all for just $139 per box. That’s up to 65% off dispensary prices.

Which states allow cannabis delivery?

As of February 2024, the following U.S. states have legalized both recreational and medical cannabis delivery:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • A number of others permit medical delivery only:

    • Arizona
    • Arkansas
    • Delaware
    • Florida
    • Louisiana
    • Maryland
    • Montana
    • New Jersey
    • Rhode Island
    • Utah
    • Vermont
    • Virginia
    • Even if delivery is legal in your state, there’s always a chance that options are limited and may not be available in your area.

      California has embraced cannabis delivery with the fewest reservations. Delivery services were responsible for approximately 55% of pre-pandemic cannabis sales in the Golden State, according to one expert’s estimate.

      Alaska and Washington are in another category entirely. Delivery by dispensaries isn’t permitted, but gifting marijuana products is. You may be able to throw down cash on a “gift” and have it delivered to you. We suggest using great caution if you decide to access these unregulated informal services. Don’t settle for fake vape carts or contaminated weed products out of convenience.

      Certain U.S. states treat weed delivery more lightly than others. While licensure is required, Massachusetts couriers can deliver marijuana via third-party services like DoorDash or UberEats. Other states, particularly those limited to medical legalization, have created far greater barriers for couriers and recipients.

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      What cannabis delivery services are available?

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      Weed delivery services and apps are catching on. New options are likely to pop up, but for now, orders are most commonly placed through:

      • Leafly
      • Weedmaps
      • Eaze
      • Dutchie
      • Unsure where to kick off your order? Check out the site of whichever dispensary you’re hoping to receive products from. You may be able to place a delivery order then and there, assuming the service is available.

        Delivery services are either hub-based or on-demand, with the latter being more common in suburban and rural areas. Hub-based delivery services rely on inventory stored in one or more fixed locations. Couriers pick up orders from hubs and drive them straight to the customer, much like your friendly neighborhood DoorDasher.

        On-demand cannabis delivery functions more like an ice cream truck than it does Grubhub. Vehicles are stocked with a roving inventory, so there’s no need to pick up new items between orders. These services generally serve fewer customers and have more ground area to cover.

        Are cannabis delivery services legal?

        Legality depends on where you’re looking. A handful of states allow delivery that follows particular legal regulations, while many have barred these services altogether.

        If you reside in a state without medical or recreational legalization, you aren’t going to find a legitimate delivery service, even if the products are coming to you from a state with legal weed. Marijuana delivery won’t help you avoid a drug trafficking charge.

        Before they’re permitted to deliver marijuana products of any kind, drivers usually must undergo training, background checks, and state-issued certification. With a license in hand, drivers must abide by state-specific rules for storage, security, and hand-off. Infractions can quickly lead to a loss of license.

        Partnering with unlicensed couriers, or attempting to deliver marijuana without a license, is illegal in all states.

        Dispensaries and third-party services will also find themselves in hot water if they turn a blind eye to rule breakers. Should a delivery driver repeatedly fail to check I.D. cards upon delivery, their employer or contractor is expected to take appropriate action. Otherwise, the legal burden falls on them. Drivers may also be hit with suspension, fines, or other legal consequences of their own.

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        Hayley Heidelbaugh

        Vaping since: 3 years

        Favorite products:

        Favorite flavors: White Wedding, Northern Lights, Platinum Valley, OG Kush

        Expertise in: Oil carts, cannabis concentrates, cannabis flower

        Hayley Heidelbaugh

        I'm a Pennsylvania-based cannabis enthusiast and writer. As a part of the Vaping360 team, I'm eager to help cannabis consumers explore vaping and get the most out of their experience. You can also find me @faeberrystudios on Instagram.

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