A new campaign in Colorado is working to speed the rollout of legal home deliveries of adult-use cannabis while raising money to fight the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic. The campaign, dubbed Cannabis Against COVID, seeks to petition the Colorado government to prioritize the implementation of home delivery of cannabis for adult use while implementing a $20 surcharge per delivery. The money raised through the surcharge would be used to fund coronavirus research, testing, and relief efforts.

“Legalizing cannabis delivery has incredible potential to combat this pandemic in a real and direct way, overnight,” explained concert promoter and Cannabis Against COVID founder Dave Sheldon in a press release. “Think about the kind of support that this money could help provide for the front-line medical workers actually fighting this war.”

The campaign hopes to raise awareness about the benefits of home delivery for consumers and medical marijuana patients alike, especially the potential for improved adherence to social distancing protocols during the pandemic. Home delivery would also improve business for recreational cannabis dispensaries, who have been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak despite being designated as essential businesses by the state.

Dave Rodman, an attorney representing the Cannabis Against COVID campaign, explained to High Times that home delivery of cannabis has already been approved by state lawmakers.

“Delivery in Colorado is legal,” he said in a phone interview. “It has been passed by the legislature, it’s been adopted by the Marijuana Enforcement Division, but it hasn’t been fully implemented yet.”

So far, only one medical marijuana dispensary has been licensed to provide delivery of cannabis products to patients and recreational shops aren’t slated to begin offering home delivery service until January 1, 2021. And a dual approval process for obtaining a license can make for slow progress.

“Just like all marijuana licenses in Colorado, you have to have approval at the state level and at the local level,” said Rodman. “And at the local level, it hasn’t been adopted yet.”

Cannabis Against COVID has launched an online petition calling on Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to support the implementation of home delivery statewide. The option would be a boost for the state’s recreational cannabis retailers, who have seen a 69% decline in sales. Joaquin Ortega, the owner of the Denver Kush Club, said that the restrictions on operation during the pandemic have taken a toll on business.

“A lot of people are frightened to just come into an establishment and we’re having to take social distancing and everything very seriously.” Ortega said via telephone. “So, we’re only allowing one or two retail customers in the shop at a time. I feel that delivery would help people get their medicine without them having to worry about their health, about my employees’ health, and without them waiting in line.” 

Even with a surcharge to support COVID-19 research, testing, and other initiatives including providing personal protective equipment to health care workers, Ortega believes that customers would appreciate the availability of delivery for adult-use cannabis.

“I think people would definitely pay that for the convenience of having cannabis delivered to their door, having the safety, and not having all the health concerns,” he said.

Teaming Up For Change

To gain exposure for the campaign, Cannabis Against COVID has partnered with cannabis technology firm MJ Freeway and its parent company Akerna to present a live streaming event on Thursday, May 7. Hosted by Blueprints Entertainment, the nearly 24-hour stream, Cannabis Against COVID: Herb for the Cure, will feature 13 DJs spinning a diverse blend of genres and vibes at Northern California’s newest immersive cannabis retail experience, Doobie Nights.

Jessica Billingsley, the CEO of Akerna, said in an email that her company “supports Cannabis Against COVID because this campaign exemplifies our values: Do the right thing; be part of the solution; show people you care; make an impact and grow together.”

“The pandemic continues to have a profound effect on so many,” she added. “Cannabis is essential. Through this initiative, we can encourage legislators to enact meaningful legislation that will improve access and infrastructure in the cannabis industry and provide for those working on the front lines.”

Cannabis Against COVID: Herb for the Cure streams free and live on Thursday, beginning at noon PDT. Any donations collected during the event will be shared with the performers and Cannabis Against COVID. More information is available online.

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