Michigan marijuana shops embrace delivery options

Marijuana in MI

EVART, Mich. (WOOD) — Door-to-door dope is coming to West Michigan, with the state approving two applications to the north and south of Grand Rapids to allow delivery of recreational marijuana.

The plan is that instead of having to come and wait in long lines, marijuana customers could get their weed just like they get their pizza: pot and ready.

Even at more than an hour away from Grand Rapids, Lit Provisionary in the sleepy town of Evart, east of Reed City, is the closest place that recreational marijuana is being legally sold. When recreational sales started three weeks ago, hundreds of eager customers waited in line for two hours or more.

“It’s just been incredibly busy for the last three weeks,” Lit manager Samantha Gray said Friday.

The wait was down to about 30 minutes Friday. But as long as the shop has had recreational marijuana in stock, there has always been a line.

“There’s always customers here. They get here an hour and a half before we open in the morning. We have customers coming in after we close,” Gray said.

On Thursday, the state agency regulating marijuana announced that three businesses in Michigan are authorized to deliver adult-use marijuana. One of them was Lit.

“Anything that increases accessibility and diminishes access to the illicit market, we want to take that approach,” said Andrew Brisbo, director of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. “When it comes to providing opportunities for businesses to be successful, as long as we can ensure consumer protection.”

>>Inside woodtv.com: Marijuana in Michigan

Along with the Evart facility, a facility in the Flint suburb of Burton and Battle Creek Provisioning Center were approved. The Battle Creek center is still waiting for its recreational license to be approved locally, so it will be a few weeks before it is up and running.

“We’ve heard from both medical and recreational patients how delivery would be more beneficial and would eliminate waiting times, it would allow access to patients who necessarily can’t get here, whether (they are) disabled or don’t have reliable transportation,” Gray, the manager at Lit, said.

Lit will have to work out the logistics of the new service.

“We’re initially going to launch here in Evart and in Honor. We’re working with the state to make sure everything is 100% compliant and we’re excited to launch delivery in (the first quarter) of 2020,” Gray said.

That means Lit should have door-to-door pot sometime in the spring.

There is a lot to work out including how far the dispensary will deliver, how much it will cost and whether Lit will have to hire more personnel.

“We’re continuously working to build our infrastructure and details and there will be more information in the coming weeks,” Gray said.

Medical marijuana delivery is already underway statewide, with less than 40 of the medical dispensaries in Michigan offering delivery.

“We haven’t had any reports of any adverse activities. Obviously, business owners would need to consider protocol to ensure safety,” Brisbo said.

>>Online: Rules for marijuana delivery

Delivery services must be part of a dispensary, rather than an UberEats or DoorDash sort of situation. Marijuana delivery vehicles cannot be labelled and there needs to be communication between the drivers and the dispensary as part of that safety protocol.

With medical marijuana, the state requires validation of the identity of the recipient, but that requirement does not apply to the recreational side.

Right now, marijuana business cannot also prepare and deliver food, but that could change in the future as the industry evolves, Brisbo said.

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