Uber Eats Cannabis In-App Ordering Now Available

Uber Eats Cannabis In-App Ordering Now Available

Posted by Lori Ann Reese on 11/22/2021 in Cannabis Laws

Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Uber Eats Tokyo Smoke Cannabis App

Spoiler alert! It’s only available in Canada. Sorry to be a downer. 

Back in April 2021, Uber Eats teased that dispensary delivery was coming.  Or at least, they hinted they were working on it.  But didn’t really provide a timeline to implement.  However, before you get too excited, there’s a catch.  Cannabis delivery won’t be available in all jurisdictions where Uber Eats operates.  And Uber Eats won’t actually be delivering cannabis.

Confused? So were we.  But Uber Eats drivers and cyclists won’t be handling the delivery of any of the orders.  Customers will simply be able to order their weed through the Uber Eats app.  And it will be fulfilled by a popular Ontario dispensary chain, Tokyo Smoke.

The first market that Uber Eats will be licensed to deliver weed is Ontario. And that is no accident.   There is a big tourism industry in Ontario and a big potential customer base.  Roughly 38% of the Canadian population lives in the province. 

Cannabis sales in Canada (much like America) increased substantially. In 2020, sales of legal cannabis in Canada were tallied at $2.6B.  An increase of 120% since 2019.  By 2026, the Canadian cannabis market is expected to reach $6.7B in annual sales.  Sorry, but that’s kind of a big deal, eh? According to Bloomberg, the province of Ontario took in about 40% of those revenues.

Waiting for Canadian Federal Law to Allow Cannabis Delivery Services

As if you needed another reason to love our neighbors to the North.  Uber Eats has just announced the convenience of in-app ordering. Yep.  You can have munchies delivered right to your front door by Uber Eats.  But you’ll still have to run out and get your cannabis—pick-up option only (for now). But in case you were wondering, cannabis delivery already existed.  Implemented during the pandemic, the Canadian federal government permitted dispensaries to deliver—an extension of services to help protect patients, staff and reduce Covid-19 infection risks.

Right now the federal government in Canada is deciding whether to make dispensary delivery a permanent option for patients.  This falls under health equity and accessibility.  Just like any other prescription medication, patients should have a delivery option.   Even after the pandemic is over, there are patients who cannot travel.  Also, it can be expensive for a patient to travel to a dispensary. 

Either way, delivery helps patients.  And it looks like the option is about to become a permanent one. For dispensaries anyhow.  But not independent delivery companies. 

Are Satellite Locations and Delivery Only Dispensaries Coming Soon?

Matt Lamers reported on the legal change in an October article on MjBizDaily.com.   According to Lamers, the industry feels that delivery services will reduce black market sales.  It may also improve customer loyalty.  And undoubtedly increase sales, because of the convenience.

But what was really interesting was how legalized delivery would change the industry. For example, many retail locations were not built to allow curbside pick-up or delivery. However, large dispensary chains could look into creating smaller secure satellite locations. To exclusively fulfill online orders for home delivery. 

Kind of like ghost-kitchens in expensive, densely populated areas like New York City.  Same concept.  And highly profitable as well for the dispensary.  All the sales potential without the cumbersome operational expenses of a retail store.

No storefront and sans retail staff could be a great business model.  One that helps keep the cost of cannabis affordable for patients and people who buy cannabis for adult-use.  And because people frequently want expert suggestions on strains and potencies, telephone support for customers. Maybe even an in-app chat feature to ask a digital budtender?

The possibilities! But for now, at least the Uber Eats app makes it a seamless experience.  Provided you live near a Tokyo Smoke dispensary location.  It’s cool, though, because there are over 50 Tokyo Smoke cannabis dispensaries in Ontario, Canada. 

Uber Eats Delivers 420

Snuffing Out Cannabis Crimes and Black-Market Competition

In Canada, both medical and adult-use cannabis is legalized.  Patients have many different options and advantages when they have a medical card.  It is a model that some states in America have watched closely.  And U.S. policymakers.

One recent study shares some very startling statistics about reducing crime.  Groups that oppose the national legalization of adult-use often cite concern for youths.  If cannabis is legal everywhere, how will that affect teens who are not old enough to use it?

Read: Impacts of Canada’s Cannabis Legalization on Police-Reported Crime Among Youth: Early Evidence.”

According to the study, after implementing the “Cannabis Act” of 2018, youth crime rates went down.  Cannabis-related crimes for both young men and women decreased by 55% to 65%.  People prefer to purchase legal weed.

The only caveat is the sale of concentrates or higher potency cannabis products.  Some Canadians who are seasoned cannabis users have complained. They think that the quality and potency offered in dispensaries isn’t as good as a street-illegal weed.  And some are willing to pay more even if that means breaking the law.

Legalized cannabis takes a big bite out of the illicit cannabis market.  The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) estimated that illegal black market sales of cannabis accounted for almost 53% of all cannabis purchases.  The OCS estimate was based on sales from April 1, 202, to June 30, 2020, alone.

When Will It Be on the Uber Eats App in Ontario?

How long would it take for Uber Eats to pick up and deliver cannabis? If you live in Ontario, your order could be less than an hour, which would not be okay if you were ordering hot food. But it’s definitely okay for the convenience of door-to-door buds. If you are planning a trip to Toronto, Niagara Falls, or points in between, check it out.  It will be available in any location where there is a Tokyo Smoke dispensary.  Starting on November 29, 2021. 

Tokyo Smoke and Uber Eats: The Dream Team Partners Up

Who is Tokyo Smoke? One of Canopy Growth’s successful cannabis enterprises and brands. Canopy Growth also announced on October 14, 2021, that it is acquiring Wana.  The Wana brand includes some of North America’s top-selling edible cannabis products. 

Seeing the strategy?  Delivering one of the top-selling cannabis products (edibles) through convenient online ordering?  Not legal yet in Canada, but you can start to see where it’s going for Canopy Growth.  And when it comes to delivering edibles and dominating the market?

No one is more qualified than Uber Eats. 

 

Images: Canva | Deposit Photos

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