Evan Cox soon found that mail order marijuana was much like delivering pizza, only simpler as you don’t have to keep marijuana piping hot. Cox is the founder of Winter life, a home delivery company that filled the gap when Washington State passed its recreational marijuana law and the opening of dispensaries set to take place this summer.
Just a year and a half before, the college student was running low on funds when the idea for the company occurred to him. Of his business, Cox told The Economist, “Your customers can peruse your menu but choose from your actual available selection at the time of arrival.” Though selling a substance that some say causes laziness, Cox himself is no slouch, as his business nets $1 million per month and paid $167,000 in cash for taxes last April to the state of Washington. As a small business owner Cox has had to hire 50 employees. Still, his business isn’t exactly completely above board; although the sale of marijuana is legal in Washington State, transporting and delivering it is still a felony. There have even been some competitors coming to the front.
These types of businesses don’t only operate in Washington State; in fact in New York, where possession has been decriminalized, over 12 illegal delivery services exist in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. They exist on recommendations from other clientele and most of their delivery workers, at least in Manhattan, use bicycles so they aren’t harassed by law enforcement as they blend into the urban environment. A clean-cut delivery boy on a bike is thought to be a courier, and he is only dispatching a different kind of parcel. However, since most carry 2.5g or under; even if they are stopped they will only have to pay a misdemeanor fine.
Police are aware of these operations but look the other way. 2.5 g costs roughly $50, though it may seem a tad on the high side, the convenience of it makes up for the price to affluent New Yorkers. Economist of the University of Maryland, Peter Reuter, says that this type of service wouldn’t work with harder drugs, since the penalties are weightier and the market not as robust.
Even in Colorado which has established dispensaries for recreational use, delivery is often a service on the menu. Colorado, Oregon, and California have dozens of delivery-only businesses found on Wheresweed.com, a marijuana directory. When San Diego’s dispensaries were forced to close for a time, their businesses also offered delivery. As marijuana laws loosen up in states around the country, more and more may be calling up a delivery service just like Winterlife.