Los Angeles – Ordering cannabis in Los Angeles is now as easy as booking a taxi. Click on an app, choose your preferred product, pay for it and then sit back and wait for it to be delivered to your door.
Eaze is just one of several firms taking advantage of the legalisation of cannabis, for which the people of California voted overwhelmingly in favour in 2016. Since January last year, when the use of recreational cannabis became legal across the state, the start-up has seen an 80% increase in sign-ups. It had run a limited medicinal cannabis delivery service for two decades, with anyone who wanted to order having to download medical evidence that they needed it. But now the mood has changed and 10 states around the US have made recreational cannabis legal, with the use of the drug for medical reasons allowed in 33 of the 50 states.
“People used to consume with their friends and would have had a guy that delivered. Now a lot of people feel more comfortable about coming out of the shadows about their cannabis consumption,” said Sheena Shiravi, director of communications at Eaze.
Not everyone is convinced about the new laws though, with doctors in the US and Canada – where it was also recently legalised – urging caution when it comes to usage, both in terms of addiction and the effects of the drug on the brain, particularly for young people.
Dr Romina Mizrahi, a doctor at Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, has done a lot of research into the link between cannabis use and psychosis. She believes it can be dangerous to smoke the drug under the age of 25.
“When people start smoking before the age of 16, there is a higher risk of having a psychotic experience. We know that early use is dangerous,” she told the BBC.
According to Ms Shiravi, the vast majority of her company’s users (80%) cite their use of the drug as being for general “wellness”. “It helps with stress levels, decreases alcohol consumption and cannabis is a lot safer than alcohol,” she told the BBC.
For her, use of marijuana can also help alleviate the US’s opiate crisis, which has seen addiction to shop-bought painkillers skyrocket.
“Cannabis is a huge tool missing in the toolbox of pain management. It is not a silver bullet but should definitely be considered in the face of hundreds of thousands of opioid deaths,” she said.
Eaze describes itself as a technology platform that creates an ecosystem around the drug, aiming to become the “credible, trusted source for all things cannabis”.
It currently has around a dozen retailers, and between 40 and 60 different brands of cannabis, all of which have been safety tested. The retailers employ the drivers but the buying process, the payment and the delivery can be done within the app. There are checks to verify users are over 21 and also to ensure they only buy limited amounts per day.
A consumer uses the site in the same way they would use any e-commerce platform, picking the product they want, paying for it by credit card and then ordering a car to deliver it. “It is just like shopping on Amazon or picking a movie on Netflix,” said Ms Shiravi.
In the company’s offices in Venice Beach, there are three large screens that monitor in real-time the deliveries it makes. Exact numbers are confidential but judging by the amount of cars that appear to be making their way to destinations all over the state, business is healthy. Ms Shiravi says that it makes “thousands of deliveries” each week.
Cannabis on the site is available in a variety of formats, from sprays to vaporisers to face creams, chocolates and gummy bears. Smoking is still the most popular way to consume it, with vaporisers growing in popularity, according to Ms Shiravi.
There are hundreds of different chemical compounds in a cannabis plant – known as cannabinoids – and the amount of each is broken down on the descriptions of different products, so people know exactly what they are getting.
For those wanting to experience a high, products with a higher percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are preferred, while those wanting something for stress or pain relief will look for products containing cannabidiol (CBD), which is non-psychoactive.
To Read The Rest Of This Article By Staff on The Nation
Published: January 03, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News