On paper, the concept of legal cannabis delivered to one’s door is basically the dream.
Compared to the past, it’s never been less of a risk to place an order for a pack of joints, sit back, and wait for the doorbell to ring. While the concept of delivering cannabis is novel in its own right, quasi-legal and outright illicit delivery services have long been the norm in places like New York City.
For those of us in San Francisco, however, the promise of delivery asks us to trade choice in favor of convenience. Yes, if you’re married to a certain brand or grower to the point where your purchases are already automatic, go wild on Eaze or one of the many dispensary-affiliated delivery operations in San Francisco.
In total, there are 41 currently permitted delivery-only cannabis operators in San Francisco according to a report issued by the city’s Office of the Controller on Dec. 5. By comparison, there were also 37 permitted storefront retail dispensaries in operation, with that number now at least up to 38 with the mid-December opening of Berner’s on Haight.
Given the abundance of choice for consumers when it comes to getting weed brought straight to the sofa, it’s understandable that many have found a comfortable, if limited, way to procure and enjoy their pot. The issue isn’t actually the concept of delivery but instead a pattern that finds people still feel a bit timid about actually stepping through the doors of a licensed dispensary. Delivery, for some, has become a security blanket that is wholly unnecessary.
It’s important to note that for some individuals — especially those with mobility issues or anyone who lives in the 80 percent of California municipalities that have banned cannabis retail storefronts — there’s no choice to be made. For the rest of us, however, only ordering pot products online is like never actually sitting in a restaurant.
Do restaurants suck? Sometimes, sure. However, without actually going inside them from time to time, we’d all miss out on quirky waiters, daily specials, and, most importantly, a feel for what the place is all about.
All of these things apply to cannabis as well. Instead of servers, we have budtenders. Even the most seasoned consumers among us have benefitted from a friendly budtender tip or made a new smoke buddy talking shop about the latest strain. If that all sounds entirely foreign to you, do not fear. The assumption that budtenders are only interested in speaking with people who “get it” is entirely false. On the contrary, many budtenders actually express a great sense of satisfaction and personal fulfillment from helping newcomers learn what cannabis can do.
Dispensaries are also a great place both to hunt for a deal and to find the product that you actually want. One of the main issues with delivery services is how easily we compromise on what we want in favor of what’s easy to get.
Sure, there are delivery menus with a vast array of options. Many of the things available at spots like Eaze are indeed considered some of the industry’s top products. Yet if you own a PAX Era and only get your PAX pods from Eaze, you’re missing out on a ton of quality oil manufacturers who may not be partnered with the platform (or, more accurately, the dispensaries it sources its inventory from).
That’s basically denying yourself a ton of potential choice at a time when finding the right strain or terpene profile has never been easier. A first-world problem? Absolutely, but another thing to bear in mind when it comes to the business behind how products are selected by delivery outfits: the littlest brands are usually the ones left in the dust.
Just as you won’t find any locally-sourced orange juice at your nearest McDonald’s, some of the stuff worthy of your attention doesn’t yet have the clout or capital to make it with the delivery services most likely to, say, advertise themselves with giant billboards at the onramp to the Bay Bridge.
None of this is an indictment of delivery services, but rather a call to consumers to remember that their dollars hold a lot of power right now. Remember: what you buy may quite literally decide which brands and stores make it to the next chapter of this ever-shifting saga. Thus it’s imperative that those of us who consume cannabis make the necessary effort to learn about the brands we’re buying — something your neighborhood dispensary is only too happy to help you do.
Spend wisely and take pride in your freedoms as a legal stoner!