Strawberry Fields, a Colorado network of five dispensaries with one store in Denver, has received the city's first marijuana delivery permit, according to the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses.
Approved by Denver City Council in April, marijuana delivery licensing has been open for applications since June. Strawberry Fields acquired the store that received the permit, a former Nature's Herbs and Wellness at 3435 South Yosemite Street, in March with Denver's upcoming delivery rules in mind, according to co-owner Rich Kwesell.
Denver is Colorado's second city to opt into allowing recreational marijuana delivery, following Aurora. While delivery revenue is off to a slow start in that city, dispensary and delivery-service owners expect Denver to be the catalyst for increased consumer demand.
"Delivery will be the largest change to the chess board that has ever happened. It's like there's a new piece on the board. We're not sure exactly what it's going to do, but it will affect things," Kwesell says.
The company is betting on the store's position near on-ramps to interstates 25 and 225 to make it a prime spot as a delivery hub, Kwesell explains. Strawberry Fields is spending around $500,000 to remodel the store, with plans to use some of the space to process orders for a yet-to-be-determined delivery radius around Denver.
"We acquired it due to the fact that the building lent itself to future expansion plays, delivery being one of them. That enormous amount of space will be utilized for order staging," he says. "It'll be interesting to see how fast we start adding on more cars. We're still not sure yet."
Denver's marijuana delivery rules require that marijuana deliveries be made by businesses that qualify for a new social equity policy in marijuana licensing. Because Strawberry Fields isn't eligible under the social equity definition, the dispensary must partner with a non-premises pot transporter before it can offer delivery services in Denver. Three more businesses have applied for a non-premises delivery license since Dooba LLC became the first on July 9, according to Excise and Licenses, with at least one of the businesses to be approved before the end of the month.
Strawberry Fields is still negotiating a deal with a potential delivery partner, but chief of operations Faline Van Landschoot is confident that an agreement will be finalized soon; she wants deliveries to begin by the end of July or early August.
"There are a lot of agreements and contracts that you have to go through. But the licensing, for the most part, is pretty easy," she explains.
Once Strawberry Fields can begin fulfilling deliveries, there will be some rules to follow. Deliveries can only occur at residential addresses, and customers placing the order will have to show their IDs to the delivery driver. Deliveries will be limited to 1 ounce of flower, 8 grams of concentrate, or edibles containing 800 milligrams of THC, and can be paid for with cash or a credit card, but only in-person or through third-party payment systems, per state and city rules.
Kwesell says he's been having loose conversations with local governments in Pueblo, Trinidad and Downieville, where the other four Strawberry Fields stores are located, about implementing delivery, but he doesn't see them following Denver's lead any time soon.
"We have a better shot at adding a drive-thru window first at those other locations," he concludes.
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