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Marijuana Delivery Service

In California, an 18-year old caught holding a can of beer faces a far more severe punishment (misdemeanor charges and $250 fine) than if caught holding a month’s supply of marijuana (1 oz; infraction and $100 fine). Still there is some indication that young people are trying to avoid even that penalty by getting their medical marijuana recommendations from the sketchy cast of doctors advertising two-for-one specials on exams. There are no reliable studies on how prevalent medical marijuana recommendations are, or how often they are obtained for conditions that are either exaggerated or faked (Reinarman et al., 2011); however anecdotal evidence implies that it is rather common, at least among the marijuana using population.

But with the current federal crackdown on marijuana dispensaries, we are left to wonder how relevant medical marijuana is to our general student marijuana use issue. After all, almost all of the dispensaries are shut down, and advertizing has all but ceased. Clearly, the recommendation card would only allow for easy possession, not easy purchase.

So past issues being fought by campuses, such as working to make city ordinances recognize a buffer space between campuses and dispensaries have become somewhat moot. But alas, a new issue may be emerging that makes building codes and conditional use permits obsolete. It appears that there is a growing industry of medical marijuana delivery services.

I’ve been tracking medical marijuana ads that appear in various city weekly newspapers. While the dispensary ads have all but disappeared, delivery service ads have remained steady, or indeed increased. Presumably these businesses lack the problems dispensaries have renting office space from landlords worried about property seizure threats from the federal prosecutors. But it also means that appearing at the students’ doorsteps could be not only the “Pizza Guy”, but the “Pot Guy” too.

Is this happening? Unfortunately, it’s impossible to say right now. It would be helpful if campuses throughout the state keep their eyes and ears open to this possibility and share with others their experiences.


Reinarman, Craig, Helen Nunberg, Fran Lanthier, and Tom Heddleston. “Who Are Medical Marijuana Patients? Population Characteristics from Nine California Assessment Clinics.” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 43, no. 2 (April 2011): 128–135.