California grounds idea of cannabis delivery via drones

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Marijuana delivery is a big business in California, but companies that specialize in the niche just lost one big avenue: drones.

In recently released draft regulations, the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control ruled that deliveries must “be made only in person by enclosed motor vehicle,” ARS Technica reported, noting that “unmanned vehicles” such as self-driving cars also are likely to be banned.

The new rule dashes the hopes of multiple tech startups, such as Eaze, MDelivers and Trees Delivery, ARS Technica noted, which had all either promised or mused about the possibility of drones providing cannabis home delivery.

On top of that, ARS Technica reported, deliveries must be made via automobiles that have GPS locators, and inventory can’t be left unattended in motor vehicles unless the vehicle has an active alarm system. That means the cost of doing business as a cannabis delivery service is probably going to get more expensive.

California probably won’t be the only state to ban MJ delivery via drone, according to ARS Technica, since “federal aviation rules require that aerial drones fly within a pilot’s sight.”

But it was probably the first, because medical marijuana delivery businesses have sprung up across California, whereas other states haven’t seen nearly as big of an uptick in such services.