Leafy and Uber Eats have teamed up to deliver cannabis in Toronto. They announced the partnership on the fourth anniversary of cannabis legalization in Canada.
Uber Eats is the first third-party delivery platform to deliver cannabis, but the devil is in the details.
HOW IT WORKS
Like purchasing alcohol through Uber Eats, the consumer has to be 19 years old and show ID to the delivery driver. The delivery driver also has to verify the sobriety of the customer.
Unfortunately, the move isn’t widespread. Only three Toronto retailers will participate in the program: Hidden Leaf Cannabis, Minerva Cannabis, and Shivaa’s Rose.
As well, deliveries will be through the cannabis retailer’s staff, per Ontario law. So, independent drivers from Uber Eats will not be making these deliveries.
Overall, this announcement is more headline attention-grabbing than any real substance. Ontario‘s cannabis retailers can already make cannabis deliveries to people’s houses.
The only difference is the convenience of using the Uber Eats app to order.
UBER EATS TO DELIVER CANNABIS: WHY?
Uber Eats Canada general manager Lola Kassim said in a statement:
“We are partnering with industry leaders like Leafly to help retailers offer safe, convenient options for people in Toronto to purchase legal cannabis for delivery to their homes, which will help combat the illegal market and help reduce impaired driving.”
“Over the last few years, we have invested heavily in our delivery business and selection has expanded tremendously. Uber Eats has grown quickly to become a versatile platform usable by diverse businesses large and small.”
Leafly CEO Yoko Miyashita said: “Leafly has been empowering the cannabis marketplace in Canada for more than four years, and we support more than 200 cannabis retailers in the GTA. We are thrilled to work with Uber Eats to help licenced retailers bring safe, legal cannabis to people across the city.”
Marissa and Dale Taylor, owners of Hidden Leaf, said: “Hidden Leaf has been providing safe, legal cannabis to Torontonians at three locations over the last year and a half. We are a small business and this partnership is a great way for us to expand our reach and grow our business across the city.”
The move is twofold: help displace the underground market, which accounts for over half of cannabis sales in Ontario. And to combat people driving stoned, which 1 in 7 cannabis consumers admit to doing.
IS IMPAIRED DRIVING REALLY AN ISSUE?
Cannabis delivery is nothing new in Toronto. As mentioned, many cannabis retailers already provide this service. Including cannabis in the Uber Eats app doesn’t mean you can also order from a restaurant and have the driver stop in at a cannabis shop on their way to your house.
The retailer’s staff must still make the delivery. And only from those with a CannSell certification from the Ontario government.
That said, a third of Canadians are OK with driving high on cannabis. Many cannabis consumers swear they are better drivers with a bit of THC in their system. They’re calmer, more aware of their surroundings, and less likely to take risks.
Compare that to alcohol, which severely disables your motor skills regardless of how drunk your mind feels.
And police recognize this. They’ve had to employ oral fluid screening technology to catch drivers high on cannabis.
But if driving on cannabis is dangerous, wouldn’t it be noticeable? Wouldn’t they be swerving and running red lights and doing all the reckless things we expect from a drunk driver?
Or is comparing alcohol and cannabis like comparing apples and oranges?
UBER EATS TO DELIVER CANNABIS: GREAT BUT NOT NECESSARY
Having Uber Eat deliver cannabis to Torontonians is excellent. There’s no reason to be against it. It’s good business for all parties.
But the idea that this is necessary to get cannabis-influenced drivers off the road is nonsensical.
Our bodies don’t treat cannabis as a toxin. Cannabis positively works with our endocannabinoid system. Phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD mimic our endogenous cannabinoids.
Do you drive home after spin class? After yoga? When you feel that runner’s high?
That’s your endogenous cannabinoid anandamide running through your system. THC is very similar to it. If you can drive with elevated levels of anandamide, you can drive with low doses of THC.
Especially if you’re a connoisseur familiar with THC.
Uber Eats and Leafy are providing a service, no doubt. But like all things cannabis, the devil is in the details.