Connecticut residents will eventually be able to get cannabis delivered to their homes under the state’s new recreational-use law.
Delivery will initially happen through retailers once stores open, which is expected to happen later this year, and then eventually from stand-alone delivery services.
Cities and towns, which can set their own marijuana rules, including prohibiting retailers and manufacturers from operating within their borders, cannot ban delivery.
At least 12 states that have legalized recreational cannabis allow for home-delivered marijuana in some form, including two of Connecticut’s neighbors — Massachusetts and New York. Operations in Massachusetts began last July. New York, like Connecticut, doesn’t have any retail shops open yet.
Connecticut’s licensing program creates two kinds of companies: Delivery services, which bring orders from cannabis establishments directly to consumers, qualifying medical marijuana patients and caregivers, and transporters, which transport cannabis between businesses, laboratories and research programs.
Delivery to consumers can come from either a retailer, hybrid retailer, or micro-cultivator. For patients or caregivers, orders must come from a hybrid retailer or dispensary facility. Licensed delivery services cannot sell cannabis directly to a patient, caregiver or consumer.
The law enables retailers, hybrid retailers, micro-cultivators and dispensary facilities to use their own employees to deliver cannabis.
The initial lottery period for applications for delivery service licenses opened Feb. 17 and will open on March 24 for transporter applications. Both application windows will be open for 90 days.
State regulations outline the strict rules that licensees must follow, including delivering an order within a 24-hour period, or returning it to the originating establishment.
DeVaughn Ward, senior legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project, said the COVID pandemic accelerated the delivery movement with many states deeming cannabis businesses as essential, which enabled them to stay open and offer curbside pickup and delivery.
One of the main reasons for that, Ward said, was to provide medical marijuana patients, who may be immunocompromised, the ability to “have safe access to their medicine in a way that didn’t put them in jeopardy.”
“The pandemic really pushed the delivery model forward in a lot of ways,” he said.