What to Expect When Driving for a Cannabis Company
Considering a career in cannabis? Welcome to the club. Weed delivery is a concept that conjures up lots of pre-conceived notions, and most of all, opinions and judgments. Luckily, this is all about to change. Many are looking to jump on the bandwagon as the multi-billion dollar industry explodes, while others are still scared of having anything to do with cannabis. This is understandable considering it is still considered illegal on the federal front. So, before you get started on your side hustle (or full-time hustle) here are some fast facts to guide you.
What Types of Delivery Services Are There?
There are several different types of cannabis delivery companies (with new companies jumping into the business every day). Let’s start with the most important question you should look for when considering a company: Are they licensed?
If they are, you will most likely find the information listed on their website or on Weedmaps. Currently, there are hundreds of cannabis delivery services operating illegally in the Los Angeles area alone.
This is scary for several reasons. You could be arrested even though you aren’t knowingly doing anything wrong (however, the law won’t see it that way), you have no protections in place if you are robbed, as the company is not insured whatsoever, and chances are, the company doesn’t have proper safety precautions in place to prevent you from being robbed or injured.
Do you really want to work for an employer who doesn’t care enough about your safety? While this isn’t a deal breaker, if you are being paid in cash — as many cannabis companies are having trouble finding banks to work with them — your employer may not be operating legally. That said, if you are delivering for a mom and pop type operation that doesn’t have Silicon Valley investment backing, cash is often a standard form of payment.
Now a Caveat
If you are working for a cannatech delivery company (for instance, Eaze, Meadow, SpeedWeed, Nugg, Grassp, or GreenRush) they may not have a cannabis license, and this is currently acceptable. Again, this is subject to change due to evolving state regulation. So, how do companies get around this? They don’t grow or distribute the product directly themselves. They are considered a technology service that connects brick and mortar dispensaries with drivers (who are paid by a third party). These companies are complying with strict laws, which are detailed below in Hiring Protocols.
Where They Differ
Okay, so let’s say you found a delivery company that is compliant and operating with a state-issued non-storefront license. How will this experience differ from delivery with a cannatech company?
Broadly speaking, the less stringent the vetting process, the less they’ll trust you with a bunch of their product at once. You should expect to put extra mileage on your car, as you will pick up each order separately, unless the dispensary receives several orders at one time that happen to be going to the same part of town. You’re also likely to make a low hourly wage, if you even get one. Many delivery companies only pay per delivery. So, if you’re waiting around on a slow shift, you’ll make nothing until you fulfill a delivery request.
With a cannatech company like Eaze, you’ll make an hourly wage, usually between $15 and $24 an hour, which is much more than the majority of non-tech delivery services. That said, if you are used to the “driving whenever you feel like it” practice that is standard in the Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash world, you should know that working for Eaze is different. They give you a set schedule, where you are expected to be punctual and reliable. If you cannot cover your shift, you find someone to cover you.
Where They Converge
To deliver for any type of cannabis service you must be 21 or older. Period. Depending on the thoroughness of the vetting process, you may have to submit to a criminal background check and show a clean driving record. Again, these requirements are out the window if the company is operating illegally without a license.
With a cannatech company that is complying fully with the law, you should expect a complex questionnaire along with your application to drive. Questions will include what type of phone model you’ll be using for work (to see if it’s compatible with their operating software), proof of car registration, a clean driving record, a background check, and proof that you are legal to work in the United States. Then, you’ll have not just a phone interview, but also an in-person interview. For those of you new to the delivery game, this is largely unheard of.
On the less rigorous side of things, you could experience a watered down version of any of the above requirements. Things may be as casual as replying to a Craigslist ad or 420careers ad, submitting your driver’s license, and then showing up for your first shift. If this is the full vetting process for a company, you may want to be more cautious about working for them.
Yes, sadly you will run into problematic patients. However, it is generally the budtenders who deal with them. Some will try to give you an ID with an image that clearly doesn’t match their face. Some have expired IDs. Some will grab the product and run away without paying (this does NOT happen often… especially with a compliant company who has fully collected personal information from the patient). Some like to complain with hopes of receiving free product (like in any customer service industry).
You’ll usually receive (along with the order) a note stating if the delivery is for a returning patient or a new patient. Be wary of any new patient requesting cash change for a large amount of money. If you are working with a reputable dispensary, they should be aware of this as a red flag, and will ensure all safety precautions necessary. Now, with all of that said the majority of your patients will be…
You’ll hear a lot of griping about cranky patients who are handicapped, chronically ill, in pain, or elderly. This may be the case if someone is promised delivery within the hour, and it takes three hours to arrive.
The reality is, these patients are the sweetest, often shy and nervous, and so grateful. They will often be so happy to see you because they might not have a lot human contact and socialization. It isn’t out of the question for your dispensary to give you permission to go to their door to deliver if they are unable to walk out to your car.
Your cannatech company will likely install a camera in your car, and will constantly be tracking your location through their GPS-enabled app. They’ll also equip you with a securely hidden device to store your day’s worth of product while driving around the city. This differs from smaller operations that hand off each delivery to you individually. While there aren’t soundproof protections in place for these types of delivery, the amount of product you are transporting at a time is much smaller.
So, while your new job delivering a newly legalized, controlled substance may feel illicit and strange at first, it isn’t. Be wise, and don’t hesitate to report suspicious behavior or anyone who makes you feel strange. And remember, you’ll likely be on camera for a large part of your shift, depending on the company you work for. For those looking for a thrill, delivering cannabis is no more exciting than Postmates delivery or Uber, there are just more precautions set in place and potentially better earnings.
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