New York City’s crazy congestion, coupled with the slow start for cannabis retailers opening up shop, has contributed to the decision by the Office for Cannabis Management (OCM) to allow deliveries from next week.
Weed On Wheels?
This means that non-storefront retailers will be able to get going much quicker than expected. The delivery aspect was not anticipated by the Cannabis Association of New York, which believed this would take a little more time to be granted by the OCM.
Of course, New Yorkers live their lives off deliveries of every kind, and this will be another convenience for them, which they will be thrilled over. However, those licensed retailers who did not anticipate needing to offer a delivery service will be caught short. With this new and unexpected development aimed at jump-starting commerce within the city, retailers with delivery services already in place will benefit much more, while those without will have to move quickly.
In-Store Experience Interrupted
The cannabis industry has been promoting the in-store experience for those who need a little assistance, which is the majority of consumers. They can speak to an expert and find exactly what they need through a process guided by the retailer. It is a personal experience.
While New Yorkers might view this as the logical progression from granting licenses, budtenders and other in-store experts may feel differently. Simply picking a selection of items off the internet and ordering them online for delivery removes the personal aspect, and opens up the possibility that the customer will order the wrong product for his or her needs. Their experience might be seen as a poor reflection of the quality of weed or service provided.
Then there is the question of equity and non-profit groups, whose infrastructure and resources are already tenuous. This new development might cause these licensees to become lost under the wave of delivery-driven online sales when they do not have the infrastructure to refocus and retarget their businesses. After all, it’s not as simple as putting a guy on a bike out on the streets to deliver orders.
This might require some consideration and assistance from the Cannabis Association of New York. It is possible that the retailers who were caught flat-footed by this new development will need some advice and maybe a little intervention on the part of CANY to ensure that they also begin their cannabis trade in New York on an equal level.
Whether this means developing their own or borrowing another retailer’s delivery infrastructure will have to be part of the discussions that will no doubt be happening at CANY. It would be a shame to see such a fragile corner of the market squashed out of existence before it could even begin to establish itself, simply due to a lack of patience.
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