OR: Eugene Marijuana Shop Owners Weighing Whether Delivery Service Is Worth The Investment

Photo Credit: Brian Davies

Marijuana is just a couple of clicks or a phone call away in Eugene and Springfield.

Like hot pizza or fresh flowers, pot may be delivered to a home in Oregon. State rules require that the delivery must be in the same city or unincorporated area as the shop, and daily purchase limits as well as other restrictions apply.

But Lane County marijuana shop owners and managers face a dilemma: Is providing delivery service worth it?

Some Eugene shops are fully committed to deliveries, while at least one shop already has put its delivery program on hold. Others are considering adding the service.

Convenience, novelty, the possibility of more sales and customer demand drive shops to add delivery. Deliveries reach customers who might not want to come into a shop or are not able to visit.

“Just like grocers are delivering groceries to people, it’s the same kind of service that folks are expecting,” said Mark Pettinger, spokesman for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s marijuana program.

Eugene has 14 marijuana shops that have sold through delivery, and Springfield has one, according to data from the OLCC, which oversees the statewide recreational marijuana program.

Additional local stores have state approval. In all, 23 Eugene and three Springfield shops are qualified to deliver marijuana, the OLCC reports.

Statewide, more than 20 percent of all delivery sales have come from Eugene and Springfield. Since delivery began in early 2017, the two cities have accounted for 21 percent of all the home delivery sales of marijuana in Oregon. Shops in Eugene and Springfield have sold $231,802 worth of marijuana products via delivery as of March 22, out of the statewide total of $1,113,805, according to OLCC data.

But, so far, delivery sales are a small portion of the more than $46 million in overall marijuana product sales in Eugene, $11.5 million in Springfield and more than a $716 million statewide since Oregon issued its first licenses to recreational marijuana retailers on Oct. 1, 2016.

Taking orders

Delivery has become part of the daily routine at Eugene OG. The pot shop at 2045 Franklin Blvd. fulfills orders made by phone and online.

Eugene OG charges $3 for delivery in the city, and customers must order at least $30 in marijuana products, said Alex Traylor, the shop’s inventory manager. Customers may order up to the state daily purchase limits — as much as 1 ounce of marijuana flower, 5 grams of pot concentrate, 72 ounces of a liquid cannabis product and a pound of marijuana-laced food. State rules don’t allow retailers to deliver marijuana seeds or plants.

Some days Eugene OG receives a couple of delivery orders. Other days delivery draws more than a dozen customers.

“It generates $14,000 per month in revenue,” Traylor said.

Delivery demand at Eugene OG is growing but still is not enough to have an employee’s full attention, Traylor said. The shop worker tasked with fulfilling orders also checks inventory or does other chores while waiting for delivery orders.

Online orders trigger a text to Eugene OG workers and an automated call to the shop, which then alert an employee, or Traylor himself, to plug information about the order into a state pot tracking system.

Customers ordering online submit a photo of their identification, and customers ordering by phone show their ID to the deliverer.

“We need to make sure (the customer is) 21,” Traylor said. “We need to make sure you have a current medical card if you are a medical patient.”

Eugene OG and other shops providing delivery try to keep the service discreet by driving nondescript cars that blend in with Eugene traffic. And Traylor said Eugene OG workers avoid wearing clothes emblazoned with the shop’s logo.

In the Friendly neighborhood, the pot shop Moss Crossing offers delivery through online orders only.

The retailer at 2751 Friendly St. averages one or two delivery sales per day, said Cam McNeeley, a Moss Crossing co-owner.

“Our store staff is busy enough serving customers that we don’t want someone tied up on the phone to take every order,” he said.

Moss Crossing offers free delivery in Eugene and has a $35 minimum order.

But, delivery is something McNeeley sees becoming a bigger part of the business. He has completed some of Moss Crossing’s delivery orders himself and has asked customers why they chose the service.

“Some have said that they were not yet comfortable enough to go into a shop, for fear of the unknown, but wanted to try out cannabis,” he said. “Others are the more typical customers who just heard about delivery, were hanging out comfortably at home, and thought it would be fun to try.”

Eugene OG and Moss Crossing both use a Bend-based software provider, Dutchie, to take orders online. The company launched six months ago and maintains a website through which customers may order marijuana from various shops using their smartphone, tablet or computer, said Ross Lipson, founder and managing partner in Dutchie.

Still a startup, Dutchie is initially offering free spots on its website to marijuana retailers. Lipson said he has seven Eugene shops and 50 shops around Oregon signed up. Like McNeeley and Traylor, Lispon foresees growing demand for delivery.

“The demand for delivery on Dutchie is increasing rapidly,” Lipson said. “Everyday we receive more orders and more customers.”

But many marijuana customers still don’t know that delivery is an option, he said.

“That’s one of the our biggest jobs, is educating the customer and letting them know,” Lipson said.

Put on pause

Rainy weather and a need for weed seemed like a profitable combination for a marijuana delivery service, so thought the owners of Spacebuds The Dispensary. It started offering delivery last fall.

But sales were slow, so the fledgling pot shop at 741 Lincoln St. is holding off on deliveries for now. Spacebuds hasn’t delivered since the start of the year, said Michael Green, a co-owner of the retailer.

“It was just costing more than it was bringing in,” Green said. The shop charged $5 or $10 for delivery, depending on the distance of the customer from the downtown shop. When it tried delivery, Spacebuds had a worker designated to take the calls and fulfill the orders. Spacebuds didn’t take delivery orders online.

“It just wasn’t making sense to have someone waiting around when the phone wasn’t ringing,” Green said.

He said the convenience of delivery might be competing with the fun of visiting a pot shop when customers decide whether to order delivery or to visit a retailer where they can see and smell the marijuana for sale themselves.

Delivery coming soon

Some shops that don’t have delivery are hearing calls for the service. Customers have been contacting Emerald City Medical, asking when the marijuana shop at 1474 W. Sixth Ave. will offer delivery.

The answer: probably within a month or two, Emerald City Medical owner Allan Wooster says. But first he is evaluating the costs and benefits of the service, he said.

Buying and insuring a car, investing in software, and paying employees to be on the road all are costs created by delivery.

The potential benefit: a bigger customer base and expanded business.

“The reason would be to sell more weed,” Wooster said. “That’s the bottom line.”

Weed delivery

Marijuana shops in Oregon may offer home delivery with approval from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission

Eugene: 23 pot shops are licensed to deliver, and 14 have made deliveries

Springfield: Three shops licensed to deliver; one has delivered

Statewide: 238 shops licensed to deliver; 67 have delivered

Pot sales pie

Oregon marijuana delivery sales began in early 2017 and, as of mid-March, Eugene and Springfield represent more than 20 percent of sales statewide

Statewide delivery sales: $1,113,805

Eugene and Springfield combined: $231,802, or 21 percent

Eugene: $202,929, or 18 percent of Oregon delivery sales

Springfield: $28,873, or about 3 percent

Source: Oregon Liquor Control Commission