As easy as Amazon: Kansas City patients can order marijuana online for home delivery

Missouri’s medical marijuana patients no longer have to go to a dispensary to pick up joints or gummies.

Two dispensaries — one in Kansas City and another in St. Louis — just launched home delivery services that will make buying marijuana about as easy as online shopping.

Joey Pintozzi, vice president of retail operations at BesaMe Wellness, said the new service allows patients like those recovering from surgery or undergoing cancer treatment to get relief without ever leaving home.

“We have a lot of people in pain,” he said. “We want to make sure we can get that medicine to them.”

Just as Amazon has made buying all manner of household items near effortless, Pintozzi said, there’s a huge convenience factor at play.

“I’m one of those people that all I do is work, I go home and play with my daughter and shop online,” he said. “That’s pretty much my life. So it is convenient.”

BesaMe operates dispensaries in North Kansas City, Kansas City, Smithville, Liberty and Gallatin with plans for several more locations to open soon.

The company launched its delivery service in the Kansas City area last week after a short trial period. It followed a similar rollout the week before on the other side of the state, where Jane dispensary partnered with delivery service Doobie to provide marijuana sales online.

Industry experts expect at-home delivery to become a widely available option for patients as Missouri continues to build out its budding medical marijuana program. In 2018, voters approved a constitutional amendment that legalized marijuana sales for qualified patients. But it has taken years to get the industry off the ground — retail sales only began last fall and more than 50 of the state’s 192 licensed dispensaries still have not opened.

For those individuals who already have a medical marijuana card from the state, the process of ordering marijuana for delivery is about as simple as purchasing it in a dispensary. Pintozzi said customers must register online and their delivery information must match their identification.

“You have to be present at that address that is in that system with your ID and your medical card,” he said. “We won’t go to any other address. We won’t deliver to another person.”

Missouri’s highly regulated medical marijuana program has authorized dispensaries to make home deliveries, said Lisa Cox, spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the program.

She said dispensaries must receive payment before making a delivery and verify the patient has a valid medical marijuana card. Delivery vehicles must also comply with the same security standards as those companies that are licensed to move marijuana across the state between facilities.

Delivery is a small but growing segment of medical and recreational marijuana markets across the country, said Ross Lipson, CEO and co-founder of dutchie, a point of sale system designed for dispensaries.

So far, delivery accounts for 10% to 15% of legal marijuana sales that dutchie’s technology facilitates. Lipson said his is the leading software system for Missouri dispensaries. Delivery is the next step in maturing markets like Missouri, so he expects it to continue to grow in popularity with patients.

“It’s a bit slower to roll out than everybody maybe expected and we’re still in that early-on phase with legalization. It’s a crawl, walk, run philosophy,” he said. “I think the future of delivery is very, very bright.”

Last week, Jane dispensary began offering home delivery of its products to customers in the St. Louis area.

While dispensary staff handle the product and physical delivery, delivery service Doobie is running the online experience for patients. That company expects to expand to work with dispensaries in other parts of the state, including in Kansas City.

The company operates like third-party food delivery services such as Uber Eats or DoorDash.

While food delivery apps are full of numerous cuisine options, Doobie president Bill Silver said the marijuana business is actually much simpler as most dispensaries in a given market offer similar products. But he said the way delivery has reshaped the restaurant industry should be a lesson for marijuana dispensaries.

“It’ll be as important for cannabis as it is for other services like restaurants,” Silver said. “We’ve become a come-to-me or deliver-to-me economy and cannabis will be a part of that.”

Author: Sunny Dupree
Sunny Dupree is a seasoned journalist, keynote speaker and founder of Weed America: A Journalism-Minded Agency, which handles public relations, content marketing, social media, events and thought leadership for brands and executives in legal cannabis, hemp technology, alternative healthcare, and other new industries.