E-commerce is surging and the cannabis industry is caught up in the wave. Now that cannabis is legal in over half the United States, growers and dispensary owners are coming up with new ways to sell their products.
General, countrywide online sales are impossible. Cannabis is illegal federally and cannot be shipped across state lines. In addition, major banks are still hesitant to do business with anyone involved with cannabis, but many people are focused on seeing this change. This makes it difficult for companies to accept credit card payments, a staple in the e-commerce industry.
However, despite the drawbacks, the industry is growing. In many states, recreational consumers and medical patients can order cannabis online straight from the dispensary. They then have the option of picking up their products themselves or some states allow products to be delivered to one’s door.
In Nevada, for example, you can order cannabis for delivery as long as you’re at least 21 years old. You’ll need to have a valid ID and your delivery address needs to be a private residence rather than a business or hotel.
The online cannabis marketplace holds value for consumers even if they live outside of the delivery realm. Direct cannabis advertising is banned in large swaths of the country, so it can be hard to get accurate information about a dispensary’s menu. When product information is listed online, it’s easier for consumers to find out what they need to know.
Online sales are likely to increase. The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has placed a premium on “sheltering in place,” or only leaving your home when necessary. By offering online sales, a dispensary can greatly reduce the number of people within its doors. During the first stage of the pandemic, dispensaries in Nevada were forced to shut down and switch solely to online orders. In Pennsylvania, dispensaries were called “life-sustaining” businesses (imagine that), but while they were never closed, online (or phoned-in) orders were mandated. The coronavirus panic may end, but it’s possible that the shopping habits picked up during this time will remain.
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