Special delivery: Cannabis on demand in California

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First came pizza and Chinese food. Then came organic groceries and gourmet restaurant meals. Now cannabis is the latest indulgence you can order and receive quickly, conveniently and discreetly — and legally, to boot.

New permanent regulations adopted by the Bureau of Cannabis Control in July allow deliveries to consumers anywhere in California. Even if individual cities and counties ban cannabis business activity within their borders, cannabis flowers, edibles, concentrates, tinctures, topicals and more may be legally delivered by services based outside those areas. The regulations are still open to legal challenge by cities and law enforcement but remain in place.

In the Bay Area, that means if you live, work or hang out in Contra Costa, San Mateo or Solano counties, or in Atherton, Novato, Union City, Vacaville or a dozen other jurisdictions that prohibit cannabis, you can now order, purchase and receive medicinal and recreational cannabis locally, just as consumers in progressively regulated areas like San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz have since legalization began in January.

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There are 76 licensed delivery services in the Bay Area, from San Rafael to San Jose. Popular Bay Area delivery services include enormous Eaze and connoisseurs’ favorite CRAFT. The majority of retail stores deliver, including Harborside, Sparc and the Green Door. San Francisco software firm Meadow powers many delivery services, and its GetMeadow.com portal serves as a Grubhub for cannabis, providing a large menu of purveyors to choose from. Some delivery services specialize in flowers and concentrates; others offer all the products stores carry.

Here’s what you need to know:

Locations: Deliveries can be made only to physical addresses — homes, apartments, condos, offices, hotels, motels, businesses and cafes. Deliveries cannot be made to publicly owned land or any address on land or in a building leased by a public agency, including libraries, schools, parks or areas where children congregate. Deliveries can be made to Indian tribal land only if local governments approve. Drivers arrive in unmarked vehicles and wear clothing without cannabis company branding. Packages must be child-resistant, opaque and resealable.

Hours: Delivery services maintain hours similar to those of retail stores, between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., some longer than others.

Ordering: Register on the company’s website. Upload a picture of your valid ID and your county-issued medical cannabis card if necessary. Enter your ZIP code to find services in the desired delivery area. Place your order via the online shopping cart or by phone. You’ll get a text message when your driver departs from the shop with your order and when your driver arrives. Show your ID and pay cash for your purchase. Credit and debit cards are not accepted because of federal banking issues.

Cost: Most delivery services have $50 minimum purchases. Taxes are included in prices, which are on par with retail store prices (except for some Eaze products, like bargain-priced $15 eighths). Returns are possible; Meadow provides customer service for the delivery services it powers. Tipping is optional.

Arrival time: Most orders are delivered in an hour or less. You can track the delivery driver’s GPS location, movements and estimated arrival time via your computer or smartphone browser once your order is processed.

Good to know: Many delivery services’ online shopping carts let you give specific instructions for your orders. Don’t want your delivery person to ring your doorbell and wake your baby? Say so when placing your order. Or direct the delivery person around back to your garden apartment or to the corner table by the window at your favorite coffeehouse.

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