Medical Marijuana Delivery App Shut Down By Judge

By McCarton Ackerman 12/30/14

 Nestdrop leaves behind its dream of becoming the first medical marijuana delivery service as ride-sharing service Uber could pick up where they left off.  


A Los Angeles-based smartphone application called Nestdrop sought to become the city’s first mobile medical marijuana logistics service, but Judge Robert O’Brien ordered on Dec. 23 that the company stop its business. O’Brien said the app violated a voter-approved law called Proposition D, which bans any form of medical marijuana delivery.

Nestdrop, which was launched this summer, contends that they are not violating any laws because they don’t handle the marijuana themselves, but merely connect distributors with patients. Co-founder Michael Pycher said the app will maintain its alcohol logistics service and drop its medical pot plans for now, but will seek to resume that business in the future.

It’s possible that ride-sharing service Uber could soon pick up the slack from Nestdrop. The company launched a trial last August of a program known as the “Uber Corner Store," which lets users purchase drug store medicines and other over-the-counter products. The pilot program was only available in specific neighborhoods throughout Washington, D.C., but the plan is to expand it by next year.

Users on the Uber app can click on the “Corner Store” option and request a driver. Once they do so, they receive a text message with a list of available items for purchase. The driver confirms and delivers the order, while the user’s Uber account is billed. Uber has already experimented with delivering flowers and Christmas trees, as well as the courier service they began operating in Manhattan earlier this year, but there is obvious profit potential in delivering drugs.

“We're in the business of delivering cars in five minutes. And once you can deliver cars in five minutes, there's a lot of things you can deliver in five minutes," said Uber founder Travis Kalanick last December.

But even if Uber offers to deliver medical marijuana or alcohol, they won’t be promoting reckless behavior. The company even partnered with a portable breathalyzer called Breeze, which users can blow into. If it’s determined that the user is too drunk to drive, the app places a call to Uber to request a ride home.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.