The cannabis licensing process can be long and confusing, and it doesn’t help that there are so many options. Each state offers different types of licenses and refers to them by different names. Cannabis delivery and transport licenses are no different and can easily become overwhelming if you don’t understand them.
As is true with any cannabis license, you have to know what you’re getting into. A transportation license is not the same as a delivery license. Each has its own benefits and limitations. Knowing these will help you choose the best option for your business.
This is what your cannabusiness needs to know about cannabis delivery and transport licenses.
What Are Cannabis Delivery & Transport Licenses?
Although the lines between transport and delivery are blurred in some states, more often than not, they require two completely different types of licenses. Understanding the function of each license can help you determine which type best accommodates your business.
A cannabis transport license essentially acts as a courier license. Licensees may move product from point A to point B, so long as both points are licensed businesses. Transport licenses do not include delivery to consumers.
Delivery, on the other hand, allows the movement of product from a licensed business to the end consumer, only. A delivery licensee cannot move product from one business to another.
Neither cannabis delivery nor transport licenses allow for the interstate movement of product. All licenses exclusively pertain to the transportation or delivery within the borders of a particular state.
Cannabis Delivery & Transport by State
With the cannabis industry regulated wholly at the state level, some key differences exist in transport and delivery between states. Keeping up with where states differ on cannabis delivery can help determine the best state to do business in.
Cannabis in California
When it comes to cannabis delivery, California is the OG. The state’s laid-back attitude toward delivery has made it a beyond-popular way for consumers to enjoy edibles, flower, cartridges, and more. In fact, it’s become so pervasive that you’d have a tough time finding a stretch of highway without a billboard for cannabis delivery.
Often referred to as “non-storefront retail,” cannabis delivery is beginning to replace brick-and-mortar operations. Part of its appeal comes from delivery licensees’ ability to deliver to consumers across municipality boundaries.
It’s also worth noting that California does not offer a cannabis transport license. Instead, businesses require a distribution license to move product from one business to another.
While transportation and distribution licenses are pretty similar, some differences still exist. For example, a cultivator in California cannot use branding on its products. Rather the distributor handles the packaging, labeling, and branding of all products — in addition to moving them from business to business.
Way back in 2014 — on a day known as Green Wednesday — Coloradans flooded dispensaries to buy recreational marijuana for the first time. However, it took many years for cannabis delivery to be permitted.
Colorado saw the first delivery license for medical marijuana issued in the spring of 2020, and it wasn’t until 2021 that Denver allowed the delivery of recreational marijuana. Though cannabis delivery has grown more popular in the age of social distancing, it hasn’t taken off nearly as much as in California.
Although delivery is relatively new to the Centennial State, cannabis transport has been around for some time. Referred to as a courier license, it allows licensees to move product between licensed businesses.
Additionally, all regulated marijuana businesses in Colorado are granted some transport privileges, as well.
Under the Cannabis Regulation Act, recreational marijuana became legal in New Mexico on June 29, 2021. This nascent cannabis market presents unique opportunities as well as challenges for cannabis delivery and transport.
Knowing and understanding the nomenclature in your state is crucial. Applying for a courier license in Colorado means you’re a transporter, but being a courier in New Mexico means you deliver directly to consumers.
Working with a professional can help you understand the different types of licenses and decide which is best for you. It also prevents you from accidentally getting into cannabis delivery when you really wanted to get into transportation.
New Mexico’s legislation also shows some promise for the future of cannabis delivery. In anticipation of federal legalization, lawmakers included provisions for interstate commerce, when it becomes legal. If your operation has big future plans, New Mexico may be the place to go.
With transport and delivery licenses, the Bay State continues to manage cannabis properly. State officials took their time rolling it out, but when they did, licenses were clear and straightforward, making it easy for existing businesses to move into the space with little confusion.
Since they launched the program, cannabis delivery and transport have taken off. Massachusetts business owners have even been pairing licenses to maximize success, much like what we’ve seen in New York.
How to Win a Cannabis Delivery or Transport License
No matter what state you’re in, there are a few general guidelines to follow when applying for a transport or delivery license — the biggest of which is staying compliant. Keep up with regulations and changes so that you can be ahead of the curve and avoid any costly penalties.
Your business must also be compatible with your state’s mandated tracking software — in California, Colorado, and Massachusetts, this is Metrc. However, relying solely on Metrc can be problematic.
Using a supplemental software, like OnFleet, that matches the needs of your business keeps operations running smoothly. In addition to tracking products, OnFleet allows you to consolidate routes, scale your business, and maximize efficiency.
At the end of the day, a successful cannabis delivery or transport business must be prepared for scrutiny. The state will keep a close eye on you, so take all the necessary steps to protect yourself.
Although the barrier of entry is still low for transportation and delivery, cannabis is still a highly regulated industry laced with critical compliance benchmarks. In order to maximize your time and money, work with an experienced professional.
Book a consultation today to explore your options for securing the best license for your business.