How to Start a Medical Marijuana Delivery Service
Thinking of starting a medical marijuana delivery service but don't know how to get started? You've come to the right place! In this post we'll give you a detailed overview of the basic hurdles you might encounter when starting a marijuana delivery business in your area. For a more thorough understanding of how to properly and legally create a marijuana delivery service, feel free to check out our online cannabis courses on the topic (with legal docs) to get your started!
Choosing a Location for Your Medical Marijuana Delivery Service
“Why do I need a location? I’m a marijuana delivery service!”
Though marijuana delivery services, unlike medical marijuana dispensaries, don’t have to have a public-facing physical location, you still need a place to store your product and run your business operations out of. Depending on where you live, you might be able to run it out of your house, however, make sure to check with your local government and research any associated zoning restrictions before proceeding to do this. If you own the home and land and are away from neighbors, there might be a better chance of being okay in the eyes of the city. Unfortunately, many people do not have this freedom so the next best bet is to find a landlord who is willing to rent you out a small place for which to run your operations out of.
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Financial Planning and Creating a Budget
According to Wikipedia, financial planning is “the task of determining how a business will afford to achieve its strategic goals and objectives. Usually, a company creates a Financial Plan immediately after the vision and objectives have been set. The Financial Plan describes each of the activities, resources, equipment and materials that are needed to achieve these objectives, as well as the timeframes involved.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_planning_(business)
So, assuming you’ve already set your overall vision and have created a mission statement for your organization, now it’s time to dig deep into the details of all financial aspects of your weed delivery service. Remember, you can never do too much planning!
Documentation for Your Marijuana Delivery Business
It goes without saying but you should document everything when running a cannabis delivery service in order to stay compliant and organized. Make sure to have hard copies of all documentation as well as off-site copies in case of the unfortunate event that you delivery service gets raided by law enforcement. For off-site copies, it is standard practice of most dispensaries to create digital copies of all documents and put them on a secure third-party service like Dropbox.
Furthermore, take some time to research available MMJ ("medical marijuana" for short) software on the internet to find a solution that works for you. Over the past few years, software has become very good and can take care of most documentation aspects of your marijuana delivery service.
Planning for the Patient Consultation
At this time, you should be well aware of the fact that it is against California state law for dispensaries to sell to non-members of the collective or cooperative. In order to accept new patients, it is highly encouraged to set up a patient consultation to:
Verify that have a valid doctor’s recommendation
Get them to sign the membership agreement (and make sure that they fully understand what they are signing by having them initial each page)
Give them pertinent information about the collective and how they can contribute to the overall needs of the organization
While it is recommended that dispensaries consult with patients before giving them medicine, some cities allow dispensaries to take patient information over the Internet (specifically with delivery services). On the other hand, some cities won’t allow dispensaries to sell the patients on the first visit. Because of such policies, it is highly recommended that you do you own due diligence regarding the policies of your specific city and/or county. As always, when starting a medical marijuana delivery business, you can never do too much planning.
How to Verify a Doctor's Recommendation
Arguably the worst mistake a marijuana delivery service can make is selling medical cannabis to non-members and non-patients. It is absolutely imperative that you first verify that a patient has a valid and legal recommendation from a licensed doctor before you allow them into your collective. Also, make sure that you verify a patient’s age and name by obtaining a scanned copy of their ID.
Depending on the recommending doctor, you can either verify a patient’s recommendation by calling the doctor directly or by looking up the patient’s ID per the database set up by SB 420. One such service is Verification420.com but there are certainly many others. Again, this is a must for your marijuana delivery business!
Understanding Your Product: A Quick and Dirty Guide to Medical Marijuana
It probably goes without saying, but it if there’s one aspect of any marijuana delivery service operation you should be an expert on, it’s understanding the ins and outs of your product: medical marijuana. Since many dispensaries offer a wide variety of products for patients to choose from such as edibles, hash, and teas, it vitally important to have a well-educated staff at all times. It’s not uncommon for weed delivery service managers to host gatherings with the staff (and sometimes patients) to test new products. Obviously, report back all of your findings to the rest of the collective or cooperative so as to maintain a high level of ethics and transparency.
Inspecting Your Medical Marijuana Products
Apart from trying the medicine yourself, there are other steps you can take to make sure that you’re distributing a high-level of quality medicine to your collective. For instance, it’s oftentimes helpful to have a magnifying glass on hand to inspect the medical marijuana for any mold, mildew or pests. Furthermore, there are a host of services online that you can send your cannabis to that will test your cannabis for you. Feel free to choose the one that is appropriate for you needs and the needs of your collective.
How to Price Your Medical Marijuana
As mentioned in previous courses, medical marijuana collectives in the state of California are non-profit entities that exist to serve the interest of its members. Having said that, however, it is not illegal under California state law the sell marijuana to other users of your collective so long as there is not a profit left over at the end of the year. Whatever excess funds are left over should go back into the operations of the collective or disbursed to its members.Now that we have that out of the way, how should you go about pricing your product? One easy way to price your medical marijuana is to compare similar product prices with other dispensaries in your area. If you choose to use a pricing strategy to differentiate your products and services from other medical marijuana delivery services, then you likely price your offerings much lower than competitors. If, on the other hand, there are few competitors in your area, it might be best to have prices that are very close if not exactly the same as your medical marijuana delivery competitors.
How to Market and Advertise Your Medical Marijuana Delivery Service
Like many other aspects of the medical marijuana industry in California, it’s important to research and understand the local laws regarding advertising of medical marijuana delivery services before proceeding with a marketing campaign for you collective. If obtaining new members is important to you and the vision of your collective, it might be best to do so in a discreet and professional manner given the current climate in California.
By far the downside of medical marijuana delivery services, especially when juxtaposed to dispensaries, is the inherent dangers that come along with any delivery service. While there will always be risks associated with any delivery service, there are certainly a few steps you can take to mitigate your risks.
Appropriate Safety Measures You Might Consider Taking:
Carry very limited amounts of cash and medical marijuana when delivering; in fact, you might want to take a step further and disallow delivery employees to carry change on them
Pre-verify patients before servicing them
Schedule an appointment to meet your patients in person before delivering to them
Require photo IDs of patients before delivery to them
- Decide to meet in a public, safe location