Uber Begins Trial Run for Delivering Drug Store Products

By McCarton Ackerman 08/22/14

Uber Corner Store will begin on-demand deliveries of drug store medicines, though other companies have been caught delivering more illicit drugs.

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The taxi app known as Uber has created an empire worth $18 billion transporting people from one location to another, but it could soon be doing the same thing with drug store medicines.

The company is making its first trial runs of a new feature known as the “Uber Corner Store,” which will offer on-demand deliveries of drug store medicines and other products. The service is currently limited to specific neighborhoods throughout Washington, D.C., but the plan is to quickly expand it in the coming months.

Users access the service on their app by clicking on the “Corner Store” option and requesting a driver, after which they receive a text message with a list of available items for purchase. The driver will confirm the order and deliver it, while the user’s Uber account is billed. The drug store delivery is an extension of Uber’s experiments with delivering other items like flowers and Christmas trees, as well as the courier service they began operating in Manhattan earlier this year.

“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 while the cars that Uber provides are certainly comfortable, they’re not the BMW’s and Land Rovers that were part of a major New York City drug bust by police last month. The “text-to-toke” operation, which went under the names of “Handsome Carl” or “Basic Landscaping,” used luxury cars to deliver about $10,000 per day in marijuana and club drugs like ecstasy.

Six dealers and the ring leader, Brooklyn-based Nunzio Gentille, were arrested and charged with possession with intent to sell a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute.

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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.