• Jason Goodin

Safety and Security in the Age of MJ Home Delivery

Why you should offer home delivery and use satellite based matter what the state requirement.

I started writing this post back in late February 2020. I remember trying to craft a solid case for why marijuana home delivery programs would be great for dispensaries in rural and mountainous areas. Certainly, these are areas where medical patients are likely to find themselves less mobile than in urban areas with public transportation and, you know, next door neighbors. I remember ticking off the reasons why retail delivery in these areas would also benefit mountain municipalities. Tourists may not be familiar with the area, may not have transportation, and may not want to drive when heavy snow hits - all the basic, and obvious reasons home delivery is a great diversification to any successful Cannabis endeavor.

Well, if you’re reading this at any point in the future, you already know that I was weeks away from the most compelling case for offering customers a home delivery option: Coronavirus, Covid-19, the Pandemic of 2020. As Stay at Home or LockDown orders went out across most states, and many countries, customers realized that Covid-19 was no longer a hyped up news story. When officials in Colorado announced impending Stay at Home orders which detailed the closing of most businesses, including liquor and mairjuana, people waited in long lines outside of stores. Within the next 24 hours, these businesses were classified as essential. Regulations have been adjusted to allow for curb-side pick-up, and some states, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan have initiated emergency allowances for delivery.

So without question, in this new age of “adapt instantly or die,” home delivery of medical and retail cannabis is a smart move. So we turn to regulations. As of April 2020, About 10 states allow some kind of home delivery of cannabis products, whether through emergency or permanent legislation, medical only or both medical and retail. Among those states, delivery regulations, much like stay at homes orders, vary. There are two major trends: states which require a plan to be submitted and approved by the state licensing authority, and states which are more explicit in what is required for the delivery program - specifics usually range from a dispensary owned vehicle, to a real-time GPS tracking system.

I’m here to tell you that whatever the regulations say, you need the tracking system. And you need a tracking system which is robust and will function in all areas, conditions, and at all times. A tracking system provides you with transparency to help ensure compliance. Things to look for in the tracking system include:recording the driver’s route for future verification, providing real-time data and a vehicle location system. Keep in mind that the best way to ensure real time data is with Satellite technology. If the tracker relies solely on cellular connection, the signal could be interrupted as it searches for a tower in mountainous or rural areas. Cellular technology has consequential vulnerabilities when it comes to GPS data transmission that are overcome by Satellites. Satellites perform well in nearly all areas, urban, rural, and mountainous because they do not rely on towers that may be obstructed by mountains or few and far between as in less densely populated areas.

A final requirement for a tracking system for a marijuana delivery vehicle: alerts. Alerts ensure that the system allows you to use geofencing (a system that will alert you when the vehicle has gone off-route). With this, you’ll want to ensure you can receive alerts regarding vehicle stops and starts as well as any powering on/off of the device. The safety of your delivery personnel is of course the strongest reason for the tracking system, but you are absolutely protecting your business with this technological “insurance policy.” Tracking alerts could potentially let you know if the driver has encountered any kind of trouble from mechanical failure to traffic accidents. Alerts also work to maintain the integrity of your business as they provide redundancy or a second layer of data to back-up the route-taken recording feature. Alerting features work best when you get them in real time and cellular trackers can encounter considerable lag, whereas trackers which are satellite based systems have instantaneous alerting.

If there is such a thing anymore as “future proofing,” it would be a tracking system that is not only tamper-resistant physically, but also software-wise. Think dual verification or multi-factor authentication - the process you go through to ensure your bank’s website that you are you - you enter your password, but you also get a text with a time-limited code to enter. A GPS tracking system can be vulnerable to location spoofing, meaning nefarious actors can interfere with the data and make the vehicle appear where it is not. A secure tracking system should include dual verification capabilities, with the very best being able to detect and alert when a spoofing attempt is made. No specific law exists on the books of any state to require dual verification capability for tracking systems, but why wait to become a victim of spoofing and potentially theft and black market activity, or be required to change your system down the line due to tightened regulations?

For more information, please contact:

Jason Goodin Director of Business Development – CAT LOGISTIX 720-275-4455