One of Colorado's largest dispensary chains will be the first to implement medical marijuana delivery under a new state law...but only from one location.
The Native Roots Dandelion store just became the first dispensary in Colorado to receive a marijuana delivery license from the state Marijuana Enforcement Division, the MED confirms. But because local jurisdictions must approve delivery within their borders before it can take place, Native Roots drivers will be confined to the city where the Dandelion resides: Boulder.
Boulder actually had a decade-old city ordinance already allowing delivery left over from the early MMJ years, according to Shannon Fender, director of public affairs for Native Roots, but it was later rendered moot by a state law banning such practices. When the delivery ban was overturned at the Colorado Legislature, Boulder became open for delivery again, with no Boulder City Council decision or town vote required.
“The state rightly prioritized the medical patient community for cannabis delivery, many of whom suffer from illness, pain and mobility issues,” Fender says. “Boulder was incredibly forward-thinking when it passed legislation years ago permitting delivery to medical patients."
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Under the new state law, delivery will be confined to medical marijuana until next year, and only medical marijuana patients who are Dandelion members can use the service. Native Roots will employ its own drivers to administer delivery, and they will have to verify the identity of the MMJ patient before handing over any medication. For the time being, Native Roots will waive delivery fees, Fender adds, but customers will have to pay a $1 delivery tax on each order, which will fund local law enforcement.
Medical marijuana patients who aren't members with the Dandelion currently must register in person, but Fender says the company "would like to be able to facilitate" remote registration, as Colorado residents are advised to stay home to avoid coronavirus, and is "looking into ways we can compliantly do so."
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Native Roots owns a separate recreational dispensary in Boulder at 1146 Pearl Street; the Dandelion's delivery permit would extend to the Pearl Street store in 2021, when recreational services are allowed, but Native Roots would have to apply for a new permit if it wanted to deliver in jurisdictions where the chain's seventeen other dispensaries operate.
Outside of Superior, a town with zero dispensaries, Boulder is the only town in Colorado that allows marijuana delivery. Given the calls to shut down businesses and stay inside as Colorado fights the spread of coronavirus, Fender hopes more municipalities will consider allowing medical marijuana delivery to serve patients.
Native Roots had been meeting with local officials from Boulder County, Colorado Springs and Denver to discuss the possibility of allowing marijuana delivery in their respective jurisdictions before the coronavirus hit, Fender notes. Now that Governor Jared Polis has recommend against gatherings of more than ten people, delivery will become even more important for both patients and dispensaries, she points out.
"I certainly hope that it gets fast-tracked in other jurisdictions. We've been pushing this issue for several months now," she adds. "We will be encouraging all municipalities in which we operate to consider this."