Weed Delivery is Booming, but is It Legal?

The rise of e-commerce has sounded the alarm for the demise of brick and mortar retail.  In the cannabis industry, this shift has been galvanized by the love of convenience, the unwarranted stigma surrounding cannabis, and the federal pressure to shut storefront dispensaries in legal states down.  Medical cannabis users stand to benefit the most from the rise of e-commerce in the cannabis industry, especially when it comes to weed weed deliverydelivery.  If you have access to the internet, live in a legal state, and possess a medical card, ordering cannabis from the comfort of your home and having it delivered to you—sometimes in a matter of minutes—is a simple process.  For patients with debilitating diseases, this is more than just convenience; it’s safe access to life-giving medicine.

Weed delivery can benefit recreational users, too.  People are willing to pay a good chunk of change to avoid leaving home, and that is especially true of cannabis users who don’t necessarily want to be seen walking into a dispensary.  Prescription drugs are sold in pharmacies where lots of other things are sold as well.  It’s easy to walk in and out of one without anyone knowing what you purchased.  Bud doesn’t have the same modicum of privacy.  Everyone knows what you’re into if they see you walk into a dispensary.  Weed delivery services offer cannabis consumers discretion, something that, considering the drug’s federal designation as a Schedule I substance, is essential for the preservation of reputation, employment, and privacy.

For these reasons, weed delivery services are booming.  Hundreds of services have emerged locally, and businesses like Shop, Eaze, and Meadow are online platforms that connect dispensaries with those local delivery services.  These companies don’t deal directly with the plant, so they avoid some of the treacherous waters of legal confusion other delivery services are navigating.  Regulations surrounding that segment of the industry are ambiguous if they exist at all.

Where Is Weed Delivery Legal?  The State by State Breakdown 

Alaska—Illegal.  Delivery with or without compensation of less than an ounce is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.  Delivery of an ounce or more with or without compensation is a class C felony and is punishable by up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000.

Arizona—Legal.  Registered delivery services must run their customers’ medical marijuana cards through the state’s electronic verification system

Arkansas—Illegal. It is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year of imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,500 to deliver 14 grams or less with or without compensation.  The more the cannabis delivered, the worse the penalties get.

California—Illegal.  The delivery of any amount of cannabis by an adult is a felony punishable by up to five years of imprisonment.

Colorado—Legal. If the delivery comes directly from the dispensary or the caregiver, not a third-party service, it’s okay.

Connecticut—Illegal. The only exception is delivery from caregiver to patient.

Delaware—Probably legal. The regulations don’t clearly prohibit the delivery directly form dispensary or from caregiver to patient.

Florida—Legal. If it’s directly from the dispensary to the patient or from the caregiver to the patient, it’s allowed.  Third party services are prohibited.

Hawaii—Illegal. Only the caregiver can deliver to the patient. The delivery of less than an ounce of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by a one-year imprisonment sentence and a fine of up to $2,000.  The more the cannabis, the worse the penalty.

Illinois—Illegal. The only delivery permitted is from a growing facility to a dispensary, but not from the dispensary to the patient.

Maine—Legal. Deliveries must happen directly from the dispensary to the patient, not through a third-party delivery service.

Maryland—Legal. Once dispensaries open, registered delivery services will be legal

Massachusetts—Legal. If the service is registered with the state, it’s permitted.

Michigan—Illegal. Caregivers are the only ones who can deliver to their patients.

Minnesota—Illegal. Deliveries can only take place from caregiver to patient.

Montana—Illegal.  The delivery of any amount of cannabis with or without compensation is a felony punishable by up to a life imprisonment sentence and a maximum fine of $50,000.

Nevada—Illegal.  Delivery of more than an ounce is a felony, and punishment can range from one year to a life imprisonment sentence depending on the amount of cannabis.

New Hampshire—Illegal.  Dispensaries can deliver cannabis to another registered store for pickup, or caregivers can transfer cannabis to their patient.

New Jersey—Illegal.  Caregivers are the only ones who can legally transfer cannabis from a dispensary to the patient.

New Mexico—Legal. If patients have registered medical marijuana cards, they may receive their cannabis through a delivery service.

New York—Legal. Registered services may deliver to patients.

North Dakota—Legal.  North Dakota’s medical marijuana program requires cannabis to be purchased through a direct transaction, meaning third-party delivery services are prohibited.  But dispensaries can set up their own delivery services.

Ohio—We’ll see.  The regulations for this new medical program are tight, but delivery isn’t in the picture yet.  The medical marijuana program probably won’t be in full swing until 2018 anyway.

Oregon—Mainly illegal. Delivery of an ounce or less without compensation is the only thing you can get away with.  Delivery of more than 1 ounce without compensation is a violation punishable by a fine of no more than $2,000.  Once you add compensation to the mix, the penalties get worse and include prison time.

Pennsylvania—Who knows. The state’s medical program hasn’t been fully implemented yet, so we will see what happens in 2018; that’s when the state says cannabis will be available.

Rhode Island—It might be okay. Rhode Island law only pays attention to possession with intent to distribute if the amount is 1kg or greater, and that’s quite a bit of weed. If you do have that much, you could receive a felony charge punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Vermont—Illegal. The delivery of fewer than .5 ounces is punishable by up to 2 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.  The more the cannabis, the worse the penalty

Washington—Legal.  If you’re not a state-licensed entity, it’s illegal. The sale and distribution of any amount of marijuana is a class C felony punishable by up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.

Washington, DC—Legal-ish.  Initiative 71, the ballot measure on which cannabis legislation is founded in the District of Columbia, allows adults aged 21 and older to gift an ounce or less of cannabis to another adult. If someone gives you a donation for that service, that’s their choice.

West Virginia—It’s too soon to tell.  They just legalized a medical cannabis program in August 2017.

Dianna Benjamin

About the author: Dianna Benjamin is a freelance writer, teacher, wife, and mom horrified and fascinated by social justice and our inability--yet constant pursuit--to get it right.