Pot delivery gets a boost

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In this time of pandemic, some people, especially older people, like to avoid retail spaces and get cannabis products delivered to their doorstep.

No problem. It needed to happen, and it is happening.

Brie Malarkey of Breeze Botanicals in Ashland asked for home delivery status last fall from the city of Ashland, but it was still in the pipeline until coronavirus exploded on the scene. The store was quickly licensed in mid-March.

“We emailed them and got it in half an hour. They recognized the need both for the safety of our employees and for so many people stuck at home and needing access to cannabis.”

Breeze Botanicals makes up to half a dozen deliveries a day, and people seem to be ordering more per time, most of it smokable bud or prerolls, says Malarkey. Edibles are also popular.

The minimum order is $75, and delivery is free. Most orders seem to come in the evening, with delivery the next day.

Many people like to order hemp products online, but a lot of it still gets delivered locally, Malarkey says. THC products aren’t legal to ship from online sources.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission legalized home delivery three years ago. Dispensaries must get permits from cities to deliver — and Breeze in Ashland can deliver only within the city limits of that town. The company also has a store in Gold Hill, which was the first legal recreational dispensary in Oregon, but does not deliver at this time.

Zack Kohle, owner of Emerald Triangle dispensary in Medford, says he got the jump on it in 2018 by focusing on delivery for the elderly, disabled people, veterans and those in hospice care.

With the virus, demand for home delivery has “dramatically increased,” he says, “because people don’t want to go into town anymore.”

In addition to enhanced safety, delivery ensures more privacy. A lot of people still don’t want to be seen entering a pot shop.

“We’re doing a lot for the elderly now to make it as safe as possible,” says Kohle. “We’re really clean people, and we all wear masks and gloves.”

Emerald Triangle was one of the earliest shops in Medford to offer delivery, starting three years ago, and the store has a wide range of products in both CBD and THC, he says.

“My customers love weed, and it helps them through these hard times.”

Pot delivery understandably has rules about insuring drivers, since they are cruising around with drugs and cash — and the insurance process is complicated, the stores note.

Rules also say cannabis goods must be transported in a locked strongbox that’s bolted to the vehicle, and to reduce the temptation for a stickup, less than a combined total of $3,000 can be delivered at one time. Rules also say stores can deliver only to a “real” household, not dorms, businesses and such. This helps keep cannabis out of the hands (and pipes) of those younger than 21.

Sam Schuh, manager of Breeze Botanicals in Ashland, says drivers are hyper-careful to observe sanitary procedures, wearing masks and latex gloves at all times, and sanitizing gloves between each drop. They keep a six-foot distance by setting product on a step, stepping back if they have to, and asking that license and cash also be set on an in-between surface.

Breeze also does curbside sales, passing cash and product preferably through the passenger side or into the back seat. Easiest is ordering online, then coming to pick it up. In the store, they allow only three people at a time, but you don’t have to be masked. All store workers, however, are masked all the time.



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