California introduced medical marijuana in 1996, and it took twenty years to pass a referendum legalizing recreational use. Cannabis connoisseurs have been at the forefront of e-commerce, marketing and sales of marijuana. This includes start ups selling CRM and marketing automation platform, app-controlled home grow device, social network for the cannabis community, and app-based medical marijuana delivery. You might as well say that legalization has only increased the state’s marijuana market. Until now, that is.
In a surprising turn of events NOPE, now comes the news that California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control has unveiled new regulatory rules that will ban drones from delivering marijuana, reports Ars Technica. Presently, the bureau is developing regulation surrounding marijuana use and sales under the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA). The new regulation will affect start ups that deliver marijuana via drones, such as MDelivers and Eaze.
California Bans Marijuana Delivery by Drone
Here is the verbatim from the emergency regulations PDF, “Cannabis goods will be required to be transported inside commercial vehicles or trailers. Transportation may not be done by aircraft, watercraft, rail, drones, human powered vehicles, or unmanned vehicles.”
Drones have been used to deliver illegal drugs to prisoners in London. Some critics even argue that drones, devoid of tracking facility, could be used to facilitate narcotics trafficking. Last month, a 25-year-old US citizen smuggled more than 13 pounds of meth to California from Mexico by drone. Drone delivery start ups are making a bold statement by showing the power of technology. And yet regulators are still wary of it.
Seven other U.S. states have legalized recreational marijuana. Before you get your hopes high, don’t expect these states to let start ups such as MDelivers and Ease deliver dope via drones. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules require that aerial drones fly within a pilot’s sight. While certain rules were changed, the administration will still regulate how cannabis is distributed.
The State of California is the largest economy in the US and the legal marijuana industry. It is estimated to be worth $5 billion. Licenses to marijuana distributors, retailers, and other businesses will be issued beginning January 1, 2018.