Delivering the goods: dispensaries begin serving patients at home
Delivery services are starting to gain traction across the state with JANE starting delivery in the St. Louis area in June. On the western side of the state, BesaMe kicked off delivery services in late July, while Riverside Wellness said delivery services will begin in August. In Central Missouri, 3Fifteen Primo has received commencement approval for delivery services and began accepting delivery orders for their Columbia location at the end of July.
Greenway had a chance to speak to Felicia Delope, Marketing Director at JANE; Blake Cox, Marketing Manager for 3Fifteen Primo Cannabis; Mary Ann Denzer, owner of Riverside Wellness, and Joey Pintozzi, Vice President of Retail Operations for BesaMe, to learn more about what it has taken to bring delivery services to Missouri’s patients.
JANE was the first in the state to offer home delivery services to Missouri patients, in part thanks to a relationship with Doobie. Doobie is an existing delivery service, serving the Boston, Massachusetts, market and over 38 cities in California.
“We wanted to be able to provide medical marijuana to all patients of Missouri within our delivery service areas,” Delope told Greenway, “Delivery was a part of our business plan from opening JANE in The Loop.”
One of many problems that licensees face in offering delivery services is payment.
“Missouri medical marijuana regulations require that all cannabis orders be paid for before they go out for delivery. To accomplish this, Doobie and JANE use a new electronic payment service called Hypur. Hypur provides a cashless option that is safe, convenient and reliable. Hypur is simple to use and it eliminates the hassle of cash,” Delope said.
“Doobie and JANE delivery service is available in many cities and counties throughout the St. Louis area including Saint Louis City, Saint Louis County, Saint Charles County, Franklin County, Jefferson County, Warren County and Lincoln County,” Delope explained. For patients in the delivery area, placing an order is relatively straightforward. Patients visit the delivery section of the JANE website and Doobie’s delivery menu will appear.
From there, patients can view products by brand or popular categories, add those products to their carts, enter in their patient information, schedule their delivery and place their order. Delope explained that in most cases a JANE cannabis consultant will be driving and delivering to the patient within 2 hours from placing the order. Patients can also schedule their delivery to arrive during a certain time window. For patients who may have additional questions, Doobie also has customer service consultants available via chat on the website to provide recommendations.
JANE requires a $75 order minimum for delivery. Delivery is free for customers through the end of August, Delope said. Beginning September 1 a $10 delivery fee will be added. Delope explained that both the fee and order minimum are assessed by Doobie and could change without notice.
This week BesaMe Wellness began delivery services from their North Kansas City location.
“We have been working every aspect since last year. It was very challenging. The technology aspect was the hardest. We did everything internal and developed our own platform. The interface and compliance aspects were the most challenging,” Pintozzi told Greenway.
BesaMe was able to solve the payment puzzle by allowing customers to make payments via ACH ahead of their delivery. Customers are required to establish an account with BesaMe at one of their dispensaries prior to placing an order.
BesaMe’s delivery area covers a 20-mile radius of North Kansas City.
The ordering process is straightforward.
“Patients will place their orders online. Once received, our dispensary will fulfill the order for next-day delivery,” Pintozzi explained, “Patients who order on a Monday will receive delivery on Tuesday. There will be two 4-hour time blocks patients will be able to choose from.”
Orders will be processed at the North Kansas City location and transported by a state approved team to the patient’s location.
BesaMe delivery also requires a $75 order minimum, and has two accompanying fees, a $12 delivery fee and $3.00 convenience fee, Pintozzi said.
In Columbia, 3Fifteen Primo launched their delivery service in late July. Working with High Road, an established delivery company with experience in other legal markets, to create a delivery resource for patients in Mid-Missouri.
High Road will help 3Fifteen Primo address staffing and scheduling needs for the delivery side of the retail operation. The partnership with High Road also helps solve the payment issue as High Road will offer payment processing services through 3Fifteen’s online platform.
“We’re extremely excited to be offering this secure and discreet option for patients who may be immobile, don’t have access to a car, or just simply do not want to leave their home to pick up their cannabis medication,” Cox told Greenway.
As for the delivery area, in the less condensed population area surrounding Columbia, 3Fifteen is making a big commitment to delivery.
“Our goal is to deliver as quickly as possible but will vary based on the amount of deliveries within our queue. Patients will receive delivery updates as their order is being made and delivered,” Cox said.
In Columbia, patients can get same-day delivery while outside the city patients place orders for next-day delivery. “We’re going to cover a large area with our next-day service, in some cases up to 100 miles,” Cox explained, “Patients will need to visit the delivery site to determine range.”
As for the order process, patients will need to set up a profile with High Road in order to place delivery orders through 3Fifteen Primo, but once established, there are no order minimums and the delivery fee will be based on distance.
Patients can find more info about 3Fifteen Primo Cannabis’ delivery service on its FAQ page.
At Riverside Wellness, Owner Mary Ann Denzer spoke to Greenway about their efforts to bring delivery to patients after completing their first test run in late July.
“We are so excited to get started with delivery,” Denzer explained, “We have planned on delivery from the very inception of this business. Not only is it amazing to be able to offer expanded access to our patients, but especially our patients that may have mobility issues, children that may be hard to leave alone to get to a dispensary for their medicine, or anyone that has a busy schedule that we can work around with our delivery windows!”
For Denzer and the rest of the team at Riverside, providing patients with the greatest number of options for access has been a focus of the company from the start, she explained.
“(That’s) why we offer in-store consultations for a one-on-one chat with our Patient Care Associates as well as online ordering/drive-through pickup and now delivery. The modern cannabis consumer is not a one size fits all individual, and that is exciting! Serving the different needs and desires of all of our patients, whether it is through access, education, or variety of products and price points has been part of our mission from the start,” Denzer told Greenway, “Our goal every day is to connect, listen, and respond!”
Denzer said the biggest challenge in developing delivery service was to maintain compliance while offering a patient-friendly experience. “We don’t want our patients to worry about legalities – that is our job to figure out and guide them along the way,” Denzer continued, “Finding technical solutions that could work together to provide intuitive flows, communicate the process and create a positive and easy experience for patients from the comfort of their home was imperative and hard.”
“Delivery is a fairly new option in the cannabis market so we have been looking at partners who will work together with us to create a beautiful platform now and improve the feel and functionality over time,” Denzer explained.
Riverside will officially begin offering delivery services starting Monday, August 9, with delivery available daily between 11 am and 7 pm, while covering an area from North of the river to 435, and south of the river to 75th street, between 71 & state line initially.
“We are hoping to expand hours & delivery areas throughout the upcoming year to serve the entire KC metro and beyond,” Denzer said.
Patients who place an order with Riverside, starting in August, can expect be able to schedule delivery within two hours, based on availability. Prepayment is required, with Riverside using an online partner to allow patients to pay via ACH. Customers who receive discounts, such as Riverside’s compassionate care discount, will need to submit verification documents such as a first responder ID in order to get the discount applied. But Denzer says that process is easy as well, “Patients can send their discount documents through email after placing their order, and we will adjust the price as soon we verify the discount!”
Deliveries will be assessed fees based on location, Denzer explained, “Our delivery fees will be $10 for South of the river, $7.50 for North of the river.” Denzer said Riverside is still evaluating delivery order minimums and will continue to assess their fees as they roll out the service in an effort to keep costs low for patients. “We will be communicating with patients every step of the way to ensure they know what to expect and feel comfortable throughout the process.”
While many industries view delivery services as a convenience, one thing we learned during the height of the pandemic was that having a delivery strategy can significantly impact the ability to sustain a retail operation. Medical marijuana in Missouri had not reached retail as COVID-19 took hold of the world for the first time. Now as numbers climb again and mask mandates begin to resurface in our communities, delivery is something that every retail operation should be evaluating heading toward fall.