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An Aurora pharmacy has received Colorado’s first marijuana delivery permit, but residents of the state’s third largest city will have to wait a few weeks to order weed on their doorstep.
The state marijuana enforcement department has been open to recreational delivery requests since January 1. High Country Supply LLC, which acts as the Aurora Pharmacy Colorado Harvest Company, is now listed as the sole licensee. Tim Cullen, owner of Colorado Harvest Company, confirms that his pharmacy chain’s Aurora location at 11002 East Yale Avenue has received approval and says he will have a major announcement tomorrow, February 11th, with a special guest that he cannot name yet.
Cullen is hoping to have delivery drivers in Aurora by March 1, but the deal has yet to be approved by the city of Aurora, which decided to ship recreational marijuana in December. All licenses must be reserved for applicants who can prove that they or their families were negatively affected by the war on drugs, earn less than 50 percent of the national median income, or come from a community designated by the State Office for Economic Development and International Trade as a zone was reported with low economic opportunities. However, the city’s delivery ordinance also provides for grandfathers at Aurora’s 23 existing pharmacies, and Cullen is confident that his application will be approved once it is filed.
“Everything happens very quickly, so we only bought a fleet of vehicles last Monday and are buying routing software this week,” he explains. “This will be a whole new chapter for us.”
Colorado Harvest Company is still in the process of providing delivery vehicles with GPS tracking, proper insurance, lockers, and other security measures, as well as screening drivers and meeting basic government requirements. After that, Cullen said, the company will file its application with Aurora.
Aurora spokeswoman Julie Patterson confirms that city officials are anticipating the Colorado Harvest Company’s motion. “At this time, no other companies have requested service, but we expect companies to work on their requests and submit them when they’re ready,” she says.
Colorado Legislature passed bill in 2019 that legalizes the supply of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana, but only allows medical marijuana in 2020. The leisure activities will go online in 2021. Under this law, pharmacies with delivery permits can only serve their local jurisdictions if they do not get approval from other communities that have chosen to deliver.
Cullen says the Colorado Harvest Company will deliver to home addresses within a 30-minute drive, adding that its drivers “can be anywhere in Aurora during that time.”
Cullen also owns two Colorado Harvest Company stores in Denver, where the Denver City Council is expected to vote on the supply of recreational items in March. However, the proposed rules for Denver reserve all new marijuana business licenses, including delivery licenses, for social justice applicants for the next six years. Cullen says he’s already looking for a social equity partner to run a delivery service for his Denver stores when the city goes online.
“The delivery of cannabis can be done safely and very well. Aurora will set the bar high and Denver needs to get where that bar is. It will be successful in Aurora, Denver and the rest of Colorado.” he predicts.
In a world still hit by COVID-19, Cullen said that pre-pandemic pre-order online pre-ordering went from being a non-factor to half of his stores’ orders. He has equipped all locations with pick-up windows for shopping. Cullen believes adding a delivery option is in line with these retail trends, as delivery has even less human interaction and needs to be cashless – although easier said than done for marijuana companies.
The federal ban on the plant has made it difficult for the marijuana industry to find bank and payment processing accounts, often resulting in almost all retail cash transactions. However, according to Cullen, there is a small list of lesser-known payment software platforms that serve marijuana delivery companies, and the Colorado Harvest Company has partnered with Hypur, an electronic payment and banking platform similar to PayPal.
According to Aurora’s new ordinance, delivery of recreational products, not medical products, is permitted within the city limits – to residential addresses for customers aged 21 and over (with ID). Deliveries are allowed between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. and are subject to government purchase restrictions for 1 ounce flower, 8 grams of concentrate, or food containing 800 milligrams of THC.
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Thomas Mitchell has been writing about everything cannabis-related for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate, and general news en route to publications like the Republic of Arizona, Inman, and Fox Sports. He is currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.