Queens-based Cannabis Place offering Long Island marijuana delivery 7 days a week
Cannabis is now a few clicks away on the Island — every day of the week.
The Cannabis Place, a Queens-based company, started delivering recreational marijuana throughout the region Wednesday. The retailer's "mobile budtenders" will drop off pre-purchased items daily from noon to 8 p.m., according to CEO Osbert Orduña, a Suffolk County resident.
Legacy Dispensers, an Albany-based retailer, drives recreational pot orders to Long Island on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
"We know the community, whether it's Sagaponack or Hewlett or anywhere in between — this is our Long Island, too," said Orduña, adding that most towns on Long Island don't allow dispensaries or pot lounges. "We want to make the ability to shop at a licensed establishment accessible — as simple as four clicks."
WHAT TO KNOW
- Nearly 40 businesses have received temporary or “conditional” licenses to open recreational pot shops on Long Island.
- None have announced a dispensary location, and the conditional program has been beset by delays.
- Businesses licensed in other parts of the state are moving into the region with delivery service.
Nearly 40 businesses have received temporary or “conditional” licenses to open recreational pot shops on Long Island. None have announced a dispensary location, and the conditional program has been beset by delays.
The state started a social equity fund to find and lease shops to conditional licensees — a group made up of entrepreneurs who were negatively impacted by the old marijuana laws. Statewide, just four dispensaries have opened in stores provided by the social equity fund in the eleven months since the fund was announced, according to the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, the state agency overseeing the initiative.
With no Long Island shops in sight, businesses licensed in other parts of the state are moving into the region with delivery service. The Cannabis Place has had “a lot” of inquiries from Long Islanders, Orduña said. The retailer doesn't charge a delivery fee, but has order minimums, which vary by region and start at $125.
The Cannabis Place developed a "robust" menu with blind taste-testing, where 25 people critiqued items without knowing the manufacturer or brand, Orduña said. They selected various joints, edibles, vape cartridges, drinks infused with cannabis and packages of flower, the part of the plant that's smoked and has a high concentration of the compound that produces a high.
"It enables us to remove the aesthetics out of the process: the fancy packaging, the cool lettering — or maybe this is a particular brand that has a following in other areas," said Orduña, co-chair of the National Hispanic Cannabis Council's tristate chapter.
The Cannabis Place only accepts orders through its website, where consumers must upload a picture of their ID to confirm they're at least 21. Once the sale is processed, shoppers will receive a message directing them to an online payment system.
Deliveries generally will be fulfilled within four hours, unless orders are placed near the end of the day, Orduña said. The Cannabis Place has software that groups together orders that need to be taken in the same direction and maps out efficient routes.
Mobile budtenders then stock safes in their car with items wrapped in mint tissue paper and placed in paper bags. The Cannabis Place is able to track its five cars through GPS, radios and cameras capturing the inside and outside of the vehicle, Orduña said. At customers' doors, the budtenders check IDs and have people sign for their order.
By late afternoon, the Cannabis Place was slated to make about 30 deliveries Wednesday on the Island, Orduña said. The majority of the orders on The Cannabis Place's first day in business came from Nassau and Suffolk, as opposed to parts of New York City.
Orduña said he's "super humbled" to be one of the first retailers authorized to sell marijuana in the metro area. Orduña, who is Colombian American, said he was regularly stopped and frisked while growing up in public housing in Queens. Black and Latino New Yorkers were historically arrested for marijuana at significantly higher rates than white residents, despite these demographic groups using cannabis at similar rates.
"I was 13 years old when I was stopped and frisked for the first time," said Orduña, who co-founded the Service-Disabled Veterans in Cannabis Association trade group. "That type of collateral damage in the war on drugs is something that people like myself lived through every day."