Depending on your perspective, the concept of on-demand cannabis delivery is either a no-brainer or a nonstarter.
On the one hand, in this era of extreme convenience, when practically anything can be dropped at your doorstep within minutes, there's no reason obtaining an eighth of Blue Dream and a package of gummies shouldn't be as easy as ordering a pizza.
But then, buying weed in Portland is already an easier process than it is with most things. Not everyone has a pizzeria within walking distance, but most people live close enough to a dispensary these days they can practically shout their order from their window. Dealing with delivery fees and minimum order requirements would come across as prohibitive for all but the most couch-locked stoners.
And then there's the psychological hurdle. We aren't that far removed from prohibition, after all, and courier licenses were only approved in 2017. The laws are still unclear to many consumers, and calling a stranger over to your house to facilitate your high feels is perhaps too close to the old days for comfort.
For those reasons, only a handful of delivery services have succeeded in Portland so far. But given how much sense it makes—not to mention that, for some, home delivery isn't a luxury but a necessity—it's a part of the market entrepreneurs are still trying to crack.
This month, two companies, Eaze and Dutchie, launched in Portland with the goal of assisting local dispensaries in "scaling up" the delivery end of their business. Neither is a delivery service per se—rather, each provides an online platform allowing users to connect more efficiently with retailers.
On a warm, sunny Saturday, when I could've easily taken a three-minute walk to pick up a pre-roll from my neighborhood dispensary, I decided instead to stay indoors and order out using both systems. Here's how it went.
The backstory: Eaze established itself in California four years ago, during the medical days, partnering with dispensaries to upgrade and streamline their ordering process. In Oregon, it has paired with Kaleafa, which has five locations, in Portland, Gresham, Oregon City, Beaverton and Ashland. For now, though, delivery is only available out of Kaleafa's flagship store in Woodstock.
The interface: If you've ordered anything online, you'll find it pretty intuitive. Products are divided by category—flower, edibles, accessories, etc.—and can be filtered by indica, sativa, CBD and hybrids, then by brand. Ordering requires opening an account and uploading a picture of your photo ID.
The experience: For the relative newbie, like me, the main issue with removing a physical dispensary from the equation is not having a budtender to guide you to the right product, but Eaze provides enough product descriptions to make you feel comfortable. After placing your order—there's a $25 minimum, plus $5 delivery fee—you'll receive tracking updates by text message. Within 30 minutes, a red-bearded dude in a beanie was on my porch, handing me a child-resistant Ziploc bag containing 8 grams of flower and a small packet of Hush gummies—after double-checking my ID and having me sign an OLCC-mandated form. Given that my apartment is almost exactly a half-hour drive from Kaleafa's storefront, that's pretty swift service.
The backstory: The brainchild of Ross Lipson, a Michigan native who previously developed and later sold food-ordering service GrubCanada, Dutchie launched in his adopted home of Bend in late 2017. In Portland, the company has 50 local dispensaries on its platform, including the delivery service Diem, though right now, the vast majority currently allow you only to place orders for pickup.
The interface: Similar to Eaze in functionality, with a more bare-bones design. Compared to Eaze, the product descriptions are spare, but you can order as a guest, without needing to set up an account or upload an ID.
The experience: Given my ZIP code, the only options for delivery were Diem and Belmont Collective, in Southeast Portland. Since delivery is already Diem's primary business model, I opted for the latter, mostly out of curiosity. The pricing was the same as Kaleafa's—$25 minimum order, plus $5 delivery fee—though it takes only cash, which you learn only as you're about to check out. (It also sends updates via text, though I received a message informing me my order was out for delivery 20 minutes after it arrived.) But I had plenty of time to get to an ATM, since the estimated delivery time was around an hour. Once there, she handed me my order in a taped paper bag pulled from her purse. I'm sure certain customers appreciate the added layer of discretion—and while not as child-safe, the packaging is a lot easier for an uncoordinated adult to pry open.