Why delivery of marijuana by bicycle is banned (and how to legalize it)

“Delivery,” whether it’s inviting a plate of pasta, a bottle of wine, or a new couch to your door, is a way of life in New York City. This was true even before the pandemic, when for months the only activity on otherwise deserted streets was the constant whistling of essential workers on e-bikes, carrying toilet paper, snacks and anything that can be stuffed into a bag. back in the halls of the apartments and beyond. .

Delivery is also the classic way to get cannabis in New York City – which, depending on who you ask, could be the largest single market for marijuana in the United States. It’s logic. For most of the past 30 years, New York was the nation’s capital for marijuana arrests. Conducting business indoors was the best way to ensure that business was conducted away from the prying eyes of intrusive neighbors and troublesome police. And while underground dispensaries and pop-up markets existed then and now, a static location invites complications. Inviting the marijuana delivery guy into your apartment for a brief exposure and awkward conversation before the inevitable sale is just the smart thing to do.

But for how long? Due to the difficulty of getting around in the boroughs, delicatessens and restaurants rely on the aforementioned electric bicycles. Existing cannabis delivery services (clandestine, illegal) – which are not far away at all the guy who rides a bike in High maintenance– are not very different. And they might be about to come out.

Although the Legalization Act was passed by the state legislature and enacted by Governor Andrew Cuomo in March explicitly legalizes the delivery, the mode of transport is not specified. And in other states where delivery of cannabis is legal, delivery of cannabis is limited to automobiles only. This cycling ban applies in cities favorable to cycling like San Francisco and Portland, Oregon (like everywhere else in California, Oregon, Massachusetts, and other states that have legalized marijuana for adult use).

What’s wrong with grass on two wheels? Safety, above all. During the early years of legalization, in most states, all deliveries were prohibited squarely on security issues. Driving a car is considered safer than pedaling around town with pot. Delivery regulations these days vary from state to state, but requirements include a locked box of goods, cameras recording the entire process, and a delivery agent accompanying a driver.

The situation would be different if legal cannabis were not almost entirely about cash. Outdated federal banking rules discourage most major financial institutions, including merchant service providers and credit card processors, from working with legal cannabis companies. Customers pay for the herb in cash, dispensaries pay their taxes in cash. Whether this is a realistic threat or not, lawmakers, regulators, and many members of the general public believe that the immense amount of hard currency floating around cannabis encourages crime.

It stands to reason that New York is likely to follow the lead of other states and impose strict rules that either ban two-wheeled transport or impose so many onerous restrictions that it is impossible to operate a motorcycle, scooter or bicycle. . These happen to be the most convenient delivery methods in New York City, as the streets are crowded and delivery people are impatient.

The foreseeable practical result of this, at least in New York City, will be endless waits for delivery people driving cars stuck in traffic. This in turn will encourage consumers to patronize unlicensed storefronts or services.

In the short term, this looks to be good news for Your Guy. In California, about 75 percent clandestine (illegal) cannabis transactions are by delivery. It stands to reason that illicit and unlicensed deliveries will continue even after the legal business showcases open in New York City, but it stands to reason that the police, addicted to marijuana arrests for many years, will welcome the opportunity. to start eliminating the evildoers again. And since unlicensed sales are still illegal, cannabis couriers are a great opportunity for the police to crack down.

One solution that could encourage the legalization of bicycle marijuana delivery would be federal banking reform. If delivery people weren’t carrying cash (or carrying less cash), the security argument in favor of banning delivery by bicycle would have less weight.

Security is how supporters are pushing banking reform, although despite broad support from the public and the House of Representatives, the US Senate has not shown much interest in the SAFE Banking Act or other plans. legislation that would specifically allow large banks to process cannabis debits. and credit card transactions.

Last year, California lawmakers introduced a bill that would have specifically legalized the delivery of marijuana by bicycle. He ain’t gone anywhere in the state legislature. New Yorkers should expect similar frustration until Congress makes its decision. Until then, delivering cannabis the same way alcohol or anything else is delivered – by bicycle – will still be illegal. (It doesn’t stop anyone, but still.)

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