Hannah Izer   |   February 25, 2022

Is the World Ready for Amazon Cannabis Delivery?

We've seen it in the news - Amazon is relaxing its stance on cannabis. But is cannabis ready for Amazon?
Freelance writer with a specialization in the cannabis industry including strains, products, technology, education, and everything else connecting to the green plant. Her work has been featured in Thrillist.

The delivery giant recently made headlines announcing its support for nationwide legalization via the MORE Act. In addition, Bezos said the company would end drug-testing some employees for cannabis use.

Gaining support from Amazon for the cannabis industry is big. The company has around 1.3 million people across the globe, and this announcement contradicts the prohibitionist idea that people who enjoy cannabis on their own time cannot be productive, happy, and healthy.

Amazon drones dropping down packages of weed to the front doors of American homes might be challenging to imagine. But it may not be far off. Maybe the question becomes whether or not the cannabis industry is ready for Amazon's involvement?

The MORE Act & Schumer’s Bill - What it Means for Amazon

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE) passed the House last year but died in the Senate. It was recently re-introduced in the House and expected to pass again. Unfortunately, many cannabis leaders on Capitol Hill were done caring about the Act as they were instead focused on New York Senator Chuck Schumer's long-promised legalization bill to drop.

As a Senate majority leader, Schumer has the upper hand. His bill is expected to override the MORE Act. The MORE Act was initially co-sponsored by then-Sen. Kamala Harris and some Republican senators were not keen on giving the current Democratic VP "a win." If he can recruit a Republican co-sponsor in the Senate, the Schumer bill could have a better chance of passing.

If it passes, Amazon will, of course, want to sell weed - or at least try to. But will Amazon put the local dispensary out of business? Not likely.

The Tricky Details of the Legalization Bill

Through the MORE Act or Chuck Schumer's Very Secret Bill, national legalization is unlikely to create an open market accessible to everyone. Cannabis will remain tightly regulated, state by state, similar to alcohol. However, Amazon delivers alcohol, and they deliver pharmaceuticals, so why wouldn't they dip their toes in cannabis?

In 2021, a Quinnipiac University poll found that 69% of Americans support the legalization of cannabis. 62 percent of Republicans supported this - a group that traditionally has not been in favor of the legalization process. In a Pew Research poll, 60 percent of participants favor the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana, while an additional 31 percent support medical marijuana only.

But, this is where things get rather sticky. It’s a lot easier to influence the structure of a bill than to work against the one you oppose. Amazon maybe have learned a lesson from its experience with alcohol. But, on the other hand, maybe its lobbyists are working on bending the upcoming Schumer’s bill into something that would let the company have some comfy room in the cannabis industry.

Lobbyists from Amazon are likely already forming the necessary relationships.

Will Amazon Cause Damage to the Cannabis Delivery Market?

Amazon dropped a bomb on June 2, 2021 - the corporation decided to support the MORE Act, federal legislation that would effectively make weed legal. This new stance was an unexpected development.

Since the Amazon bombshell, speculation has been running within the cannabis community. If Amazon is going to jump into the cannabis delivery market, could it drive other existing delivery services out of business? After all, the online retailer has been blamed for helping large retailers like Circuit City and Borders go out of business. But the concerns may be overblown at this point.

For now, federal laws against cannabis don’t let Amazon play the game. If the federal government does legalize recreational cannabis and Amazon tries to get into the delivery business, the effort would most likely fall through. This is the same reason why Amazon does not deliver takeout. Their service just isn’t fast enough.

When consumers want a perishable product, they don’t want to wait two hours to get it. Premiere delivery services like Eaze can bring your order to you in under an hour.

Can a delivery giant like Amazon provide the same level of customer support regarding cannabis purchases? Buyers can't call them on the phone or reach a human being to get their questions answered. While reviews serve a purpose, cannabis demands a more personal experience.

The Future of the Cannabis Delivery Marketplace

Just as the alcohol market has segments of consumers who prefer microbrews or craft beers to bigger brewers, the cannabis industry will continue to have different segments of buyers. Creating trust upfront will be more critical than ever because some cannabis enthusiasts stick with a strain, shop, or seller if the quality and delivery are satisfactory. Depending on what happens next within the market, expect to see several different cannabis delivery models and services.

 

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