According to new emergency regulations released last week by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, if you were hoping for legal marijuana to be delivered to your home by a drone under the state’s new legalization law, you can stop hoping.
“Transportation may not be done by aircraft, watercraft, rail, drones, human-powered vehicles, or unmanned vehicles,” the regulations that deal with delivery say. “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.”
Regulators hope to start issuing retail licenses by January 1, 2018 and look to issue 11,500 licenses in the first year alone. Toward that end they have released thousands of rules and regulations that will govern every aspect of the legal marijuana industry in the state, from seed to sale and beyond.
While I’m normally against just about any restrictions when it comes to marijuana possession, sales and cultivation, it doesn’t seem to me like marijuana drone delivery would be a good idea. The most obvious roadblock would be potential thieves looking to shoot down the drone. And what if a drone fell into someone’s yard? Would it be secure enough for children not to be able to access?
Drone technology is just too new to combine with an industry as new as the legal cannabis industry. Being able to grow your own, go to a store and buy it and even have a professional driver bring it to you is a good place to start.
Maybe down the line, when drone delivery is more mainstream in other industries and the technology is more advanced – at least to the point where the FAA will allow longer flights – the issue will be revisited. But for now, regulators in California are going to have their hands full with just the basics of legalization and getting the industry up and running. Imagine a new bureaucracy trying to handle thousands of marijuana-laden drones flying through the sky.
On the bright side, California is gearing up for an economic boom the likes of which the state has not seen in a long time.