Helping Hands Herbals was approved for a medical marijuana delivery license earlier this month by the state Marijuana Enforcement Division, and received a permit from Boulder shortly after.
The dispensary will begin offering deliveries in Boulder and Superior in about two weeks, according to co-owner Johnny Kurish. Delivery services will only be available to MMJ patients who are registered with Helping Hands according to state law, he adds.
"I'm just thankful for the City of Boulder to move it ahead the way that it did. It's allowing our business to move forward in a safe manner," Kurish says. "We took that time when we were closed to build a good plan. I'm not sure if we weren't closed we would've been able to do it."
Helping Hands closed for two weeks on March 16, before Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order allowing to-go sales at Colorado dispensaries, giving the staff time to create a delivery plan. The store is currently only open for to-go sales, but Kurish believes that adding delivery will boost sales and employee work hours, both of which have taken a hit since the store was closed to in-person shopping.
Customers will place their orders on the dispensary's website, upload photos of their government IDs, then choose pick-up or delivery times. Kurish says that the store has partnered with an app that allows customers to pay for orders via their checking accounts without incurring a processing fee. Helping Hands ownership plans to apply for recreational delivery in Boulder when the practice becomes legal next year, he says, and also aims to secure a delivery permit for the Bud Depot, a Lyons medical marijuana dispensary owned by the same company.
Located on Boulder's popular Pearl Street Mall, Helping Hands hopes to ultimately lighten its heavy dependence on tourists if and when recreational delivery is allowed. However, under the 2019 law that legalized such services, recreational delivery can't take place until 2021, and localities must approve recreational delivery separate from medical. Meanwhile, to-go sales are currently allowed under a temporary order from Governor Jared Polis during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I love both curbside and delivery for our store, because we have that Pearl Street storefront. In the summertime, the store naturally turns into a bit of a tourist spot, because it's hard to find parking around here and locals are frustrated," Kurish explains. "I sure hope [to-go sales] stick around. The customers love it. It feels like we are operating in a way that is still just as safe to public health."
Marijuana-industry representatives had been calling on the Polis administration and respective local authorities to fast-track medical and recreational delivery permits during the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying state and local stay-at-home orders. So far, those calls have gone unheeded.
Helping Hands is the second dispensary in Colorado to receive delivery approval, following fellow Boulder dispensary the Dandelion by Native Roots, which attained a license in March. Both dispensaries can only operate in Boulder and Superior, the sole cities in Colorado currently allowing medical marijuana delivery.