California Cannabis Delivery Laws

A.W. Naves
May 1, 2024

Do dispensaries deliver in California? The answer is yes. Cannabis delivery services have become increasingly popular in California, offering convenience and accessibility to consumers. However, navigating the regulations surrounding cannabis delivery can be complex. Here is what you need to know about the basic requirements for operating a cannabis delivery service in California, the different delivery models available, and the types of products that can be delivered.

What are the basic requirements for cannabis delivery in California?

The application fee for procuring a cannabis delivery license is currently $8,000 with a yearly renewal fee of at least $3,750. To apply, your dispensary must submit an organizational chart and proof of $100,000 or more in capital to California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC). You must also obtain the appropriate licenses and permits, and carry the required insurance to cover all employees handling cannabis products. Further requirements you will need to meet include the following:

Driver Requirements

Delivery drivers must be at least 21 years old and a current employee of a licensed dispensary. The driver may be required to undergo a background check and fingerprinting and can have no unpaid tickets or points on their record. 

While engaged in deliveries, the driver must carry: 

  • A copy of the dispensary’s license
  • Their employee ID
  • Delivery Driver’s License (DDS)
  • Their personal driver’s license

Vehicle Requirements

Vehicles used for delivery must have a dedicated, secure storage area for cannabis products. It must have GPS tracking to show its location and history of travel. The vehicle must be driven by a delivery person employed by the licensee and carry adequate insurance. No markings that indicate the vehicle carries cannabis are allowed.

A close up on a delivery driver's phone as they use GPS navigation in their car.

Inventory Requirements

Delivery vehicles are limited in the amount of cannabis products they can possess at any given time. An actively delivering vehicle may have up to $10,000 worth of cannabis product on board. A vehicle that has not yet received orders for delivery is limited to having $5,000 worth of cannabis products in stock.

Delivery drivers must maintain a log of transactions and update it after each delivery. The log must include the following information:

  • Cannabis product type
  • Sale price
  • Cannabis brand name
  • Track and trace number
  • Size details such as weight, volume, and quantity of pieces in total package

Operating Procedure Requirements

The make, model, color, VIN, license plate number, and DMV registration information must all be on file with the BCC. The vehicle may only travel from the dispensary to the delivery location, from one delivery location to another, and from the final delivery location back to the dispensary. Stops for fuel, rest, or necessary vehicle repairs are the only legally permissible deviations from the delivery route. Cannabis products may only be delivered to a California location between 6 am and 10 pm, but never across state lines.

Best practices also include:

  • Carrying a “Letter of Essential Business” in case police pull over the vehicle.
  • Keep cannabis products safely locked away when not retrieving products for delivery.
  • Do not allow customers in the delivery vehicle; deliver to their door instead.
  • Verify the age and identity of the cannabis product recipient.
  • Be prepared to make change for cash deliveries or advise customers that you require exact change ahead of time.
  • Do not leave goods unattended in the delivery vehicle unless locked and secured with an alarm system.
A cannabis delivery driver is checking a customer's ID.

What license do I need to offer cannabis delivery in California?

To offer cannabis delivery in California, you will need a retail license with a delivery endorsement from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control. Your driver will require a Delivery Driver’s License (DDS).

Is it legal to operate a delivery-only cannabis service without a storefront?

Yes. It is legal to operate a delivery-only cannabis service without a storefront in California, provided you have the necessary licenses and comply with all regulations. However, you should note that you can only deliver to residential addresses. It is illegal to deliver cannabis to public locations in California.

What are the different cannabis delivery models?

When setting up your delivery model, you will want to consider what style best suits the needs of your dispensary customers. There are four basic delivery models.

Ice Cream Truck Delivery Model

Like an ice cream truck, cannabis products are sold directly from a vehicle. This allows drivers to load up a delivery truck with cannabis products and sell them to individuals while out in the field rather than waiting on delivery orders from the dispensary.

Beehive Delivery Model

Delivery drivers act as bees, picking up and dropping off orders at designated locations. This type of bulk delivery system operates with the driver dropping off orders along a designated route from orders that have been previously placed with the dispensary.

Pizza Delivery Model

Orders are placed online or over the phone and delivered to customers' homes. This is more of a single delivery method with no pre-determined route. The driver delivers each order as individual customers place it.

Hybrid Delivery Model

A combination of the above models to offer a unique delivery experience as best suited to the dispensary the delivery driver serves. In this model, drivers usually carry some inventory to cover on-demand orders as well as make deliveries to customers who have placed orders ahead of time.

What types of cannabis products can be delivered in California?

In California, a wide range of cannabis products can be delivered, including flowers, edibles, concentrates, and topicals. Any product that is legally sold in a licensed dispensary can be delivered, provided it contains the required labeling below.

  • Manufacturer’s name
  • Caution statement indicating cannabis is an intoxicating controlled substance and not suitable for children or teenagers, expectant mothers, animals, or those operating a motor vehicle
  • A “For Medical Use Only” if the product contains THC exceeding adult-use cannabis quantities
  • List of ingredients by weight or volume
  • Any potential food allergens
  • Dietary information per serving for edible products
  • Instructions for use
  • UID and batch number
  • A label indicating that refrigeration is necessary, if applicable
A close up of a pile of cannabis products.

What are the penalties for violating the cannabis delivery laws in California?

Penalties for violating cannabis delivery laws in California can vary depending on the nature and severity of the violation. They may include fines, license suspension or revocation, and criminal charges.

Final Thoughts on California’s Cannabis Delivery Laws

Operating a cannabis delivery service in California can be a lucrative business opportunity, but it requires a thorough understanding of the regulations and requirements. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure that your delivery service operates legally and safely. You can also book a demo with KayaPush to learn more about how we can help your dispensary stay compliant.

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May 2024


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