Just imagine: Door-to-door weed delivery. The startups are on it.
Ride-hailing service Sidecar will start delivering marijuana to San Franciscans who have prescriptions. It has partnered with Meadow, the on-demand weed company born out of the selective Y Combinator accelerator.
Some Sidecar drivers — those with medical marijuana cards of their own — will pick up weed packages from Meadow’s partnering dispensary — the Apothecarium — and deliver them to customers. A Sidecar spokesperson says this is entirely legal under California’s Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act.
When asked whether he was worried that delivering weed could hurt Sidecar’s brand, given that it’s still a controversial substance, Sidecar’s CEO Sunil Paul demurred. “If it’s legal and fits in the car, we can deliver,” Paul said. “The same things we do for medical marijuana we can do for alcohol delivery.”
It’s a fundamental shift from Sidecar’s core product: Transporting people. Although it’s the original on-demand ride-hailing service, predating both Lyft and Uber, Sidecar has struggled to keep up with its younger siblings.
It introduced local deliveries in February as a way to grow its business, but Uber, Postmates, Caviar, DoorDash and a range of other companies are going after the same market.
Sidecar is hoping to carve out its own niche by doing custom deliveries, working with local businesses to meet their needs. Instead of trying to own the consumer relationship by being the front-facing app, Sidecar operates behind the scenes.
Before now, Meadow delivered weed using the dispensaries’ own drivers, but that didn’t scale particularly well. By tapping into Sidecar’s network, the weed company can offer delivery within the hour. Same-day delivery prices range from $4.99 to $14.99 and on-demand delivery ranges from $7.49 to $24.99 depending on time of day and delivery window.
Customers will order through the Meadow app or website, not the Sidecar one, and be capped at four orders, which is equivalent to one ounce of weed. Drivers will carry the packages in locked boxes and will be trained to vet recipients’ identification.
When asked whether Meadow considered contacting other ride companies like Uber or Lyft for a partnership, Meadow’s founder David Hua said it hadn’t crossed his mind. “It takes a lot to galvanize in-house research to create a new training program,” Hua said. “At this stage, we’re doubling down on the partnership we have with Sidecar.”
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.