Having your medical cannabis delivered right to your front door is certainly convenient. Home delivery means never having to drive to the dispensary. It means being able to order online whenever it is convenient for you. But does medical cannabis home delivery add to the cost? It might. And for some patients, the added cost could put their medications out of reach.
Medical cannabis home delivery isn’t the industry standard right now. It might be at some point in the future. The thing to remember is that delivery itself is a service that has to be paid for. So even if cannabis dispensaries and pharmacies offer free delivery, you can bet they are covering their own costs through higher retail prices. Truly, nothing is free.
Regulation Makes Delivery Expensive
What people might not understand is that regulation makes medical cannabis home delivery expensive. It’s not like on-demand food delivery that requires little more than willing drivers and a mobile app. States exercise a lot more control over medical cannabis home delivery.
Utah is a good example. Beehive Farmacy, a cannabis dispensary with locations in Brigham City and Salt Lake City, says that delivery companies need to follow strict rules to operate in the Beehive State.
For starters, they must utilize unmarked vehicles that are equipped with security devices and GPS capabilities. Just the investment in vehicles alone forces a delivery company to have quite a bit of startup cash. On top of the vehicles, delivery companies need to carry expensive liability insurance. They need to pay their drivers a competitive salary along with benefits. Finally, do not forget the cost of gas.
Patients Pay Delivery Fees
Delivery companies need to make their money somehow. The most common business model is to charge customers a set delivery fee. It’s entirely possible that some medical cannabis dispensaries pick up that fee on behalf of their patients but doing so is really just a marketing mirage. The dispensary ultimately passes delivery charges on to customers through higher prices.
When delivery fees are paid directly by the patient, you have a more transparent system. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that home delivery adds to the cost. And as previously mentioned, the additional cost could put medical cannabis out of reach for some patients.
Medical Cannabis Subsidies in Utah
It is not clear how cash-strapped patients around the country deal with the higher costs associated with medical cannabis home delivery. But in Utah, financially eligible patients can receive subsidies from a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of patients in the Beehive State.
To qualify, patients must be legal adults, Utah residents, and in possession of a valid medical cannabis card. Subsidies can be used to cover any expenses related to the purchase and consumption of medical cannabis – including delivery charges. That is a tremendous help to rural Utah patients who spend just as much money traveling to and from a pharmacy that could be more than an hour away.
Other Price-Related Concerns
Medical cannabis home delivery increases retail prices. That much cannot be argued. But there are other price-related concerns, not the least of which are government licensing fees and taxes. They drive prices up, too. The more expensive it is for growers, processors, and dispensaries to do what they do, the higher the prices at retail.
For patients, the good news is that home delivery makes using medical cannabis more convenient. The bad news is that delivery fees only add to the cost. Patients need to decide for themselves whether they can justify spending the extra money.