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There’s an App for That

Three panels from the "Canary" app which acts as a middleman between the cannabis consumer and registered dispensaries and allows for secure delivery to the customer’s home for a small fee.

Economics

There’s an App for That

If you have been a California resident during this golden age of cannabis awareness, thank your lucky stars. You have no doubt been spoiled by the slew of emerging conveniences associated with procuring your plant of choice. For many, it’s been as simple as locating the nearest cannabis club and scoring a dank strain or a tasty snack that is worth writing home about. That is, if your parents are into that sort of thing. It was soon apparent that uncomplicated luxury was just the tip of the iceberg as new accommodations were rolled out into the marketplace including secure delivery services straight from the dispensary of your choice to your front door, but only during normal business and delivery hours, of course.

Things are starting to change now. With more and more states joining the list of places where medical and even recreational marijuana is legal, headway in the consumer culture that follows and mimics the advancements and convenience of technology and the Internet are not only necessary, but also deeply desired by consumers.

That’s probably why Josiah Tullis and Megh Vakharia’s idea for a new app won the duo an audience choice award at a mid-June TechCrunch Meetup that took place in Seattle. The two 19-year-old students from the University of Washington joined a cast of other entrepreneurs with their products currently in stealth or private beta and gave a 60-second pitch where they introduced their new app idea: Canary.

“We are delivering green to make green,” Tullis told the crowd of tech enthusiasts during the event.

So, how does it work? The marketplace app essentially acts as a middleman between the cannabis consumer and registered dispensaries and allows for secure delivery to the customer’s home for a small fee anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent of the base price.

Potential customers can hop on their mobile device or their computers and identify themselves as legal medical or recreational users by submitting a photo of their medical marijuana card or state-issued identification card. After a double-verification process, customers are able to access an itemized menu that allows them to choose from every possible strain that is currently available locally. There will be auxiliary information customers can access about each strain including specific details about it, reviews from customers who have tried it before with a subsequent rating from 1 to 5 stars and a list of known attributes of the strain provided by the award-winning Leafly app.

Once the purchase has been made, a certified driver with their own medical marijuana card delivers the goods directly to the person who made the order within the hour. Due to federal regulations, payment for the delivery may initially be limited to a cash-only option. However, like other delivery services, Canary plans to implement a convenient mobile-payment system where people can use their credit cards or even PayPal.

Seattle and Denver will be the first cities to pioneer the debut of this app that Business Insider referred to as the “Uber of marijuana delivery,” which makes sense because the company plans to partner with the rideshare company as well as Lyft.

In the state of Washington, dispensaries are set to start opening around the beginning of July. Tullis and Vakharia have plans to officially launch the delivery service later this year. On the company’s website, curious and enthusiastic users can sign up for emails on the status of the app’s launch and other updates.

It’s important to note that this is not the first convenient delivery service available to Washington state residents. It’s not as if cannabis delivery has never been offered to the public. It’s just that in these instances, customers were able to cherry-pick their purchases from whatever was available at their chosen place of service, but only while it was open or offering delivery. If the dispensary contacted didn’t have the particular strain or product readily available, calling around town to find that unicorn strain or edible was the only other option.

If things go as planned, Canary has the potential to bring secure, accommodating cannabis deliveries to iPhone and Android users in two key states before expanding to larger markets in other states where smoking marijuana or enjoying an edible is legal in some form. What that will mean for cannabis partakers nationwide is 24-hour access to marijuana seven days a week.

However, what that means for cannabis dispensaries is another issue. On one hand, dispensaries will be able to register with the company to potentially help boost their own sales, but, what about the dispensaries that don’t wish to participate and register with Canary? Discussions about how introducing this method of delivery will directly affect employees and dispensaries will definitely need to follow the premiere and implementation of this new delivery model.

The future will also show what the implications are for companies like Uber and Lyft as well as their employees who must be certified, card-carrying drivers in order to be allowed to make cannabis deliveries. With current issues regarding their abundant presence on the road flaring up, the influx of drivers due to demand could potentially generate another round of regulations for the rideshare company.

As the medical and recreational marijuana marketplace and its ever-evolving needs come further into the spotlight, newer conveniences and technologies will need to be designed to meet the demands of the consumers. The country is slowly warming up to the idea of legal marijuana use one state at a time and entrepreneurs who learn to successfully conceptualize products that merge the burgeoning cannabis industry with technological advancements will have an advantage.

For now, we will have to wait and see what kind of impact Canary has on the industry and what brilliant new ideas will develop as legalization becomes more prevalent.

Would you use the Canary app? Tell us in the comments below.

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