Cannabis Delivery Drone Development Underway in Washington

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked questions around the world of the best ways to slow the virus’s spread. With social isolation mandates implemented throughout the country, and more strictly enforced quarantines abroad, separation has proven to be an essential aspect in controlling the pandemic’s impact.

The New York Times recently affirmed that Washington State has been hit exceptionally hard by the recent coronavirus outbreak. “As about 100 new patients have been identified each recent day in Washington State, officials there have scrambled to impose restrictions on public gatherings and slow the transmission rate.” With 85 total fatalities to date, more have died from coronavirus in Washington than any other state in the nation.

Cannabis became legal for recreational use in Washington in 2012. As the public’s demand for cannabis rises, the need for an efficient delivery system has become increasingly vital. Last December, Seattle-based company GRN Holding Corporation released an innovative new proposal which could revolutionize the cannabis industry. The company plans to release a fleet of six drones, designed to deliver cannabis products to dispensaries from growers, wholesalers, and processors. Each drone will be paired with location-tracking software, an iPad, and the requisite “CannaTrac payment system for closed loop payments on delivery.”

According to GRN Holding Corporation, the drones will have a travel radius of more than six miles, with the capacity to carry up to ninety pounds of product. Licensed drone pilots will remotely control the drones from a central command center in Seattle.

How Do Drones Help Smoke Shop Lovers?

Sadly, these drones aren’t expected to execute home deliveries (at least not yet). Still, the expanded use and development of drone technology is promising in these days of indefinite social isolation, showing that we may be better prepared for similar outbreaks should they occur in years to come. Drones also have the potential to improve the cannabis industry for everyday consumers. One exciting prospect is the potential for drone-delivery to reduce the cost of recreational and medical cannabis. Since cannabis has yet to be federally legalized in the United States, many businesses dealing directly with the plant are prohibited from our nation’s federally regulated bank system. As a result, these businesses often have thousands – or even millions – of dollars in products and cash revenue on hand.

The safe transportation of cannabis to these businesses, and of cash to state-chartered credit unions, requires expensive safety modifications to transport vans. Adding GPS tracking technologies and comprehensive security systems can help to ensure the safety of the driver and prevent the loss of valuable resources. However, these van modifications don’t come cheap – with many vans totalling at $30,000 in setup fees alone. This doesn’t include the initial purchase cost of the van, routine upkeep, or the continuing cost of gas. While vans have been the best option we’ve had so far for transportation within the cannabis industry, researchers have long acknowledged that this operating cost is excessive – and these steep fees are passed on to the prices we pay for cannabis.

Delivering cannabis to dispensaries with drones is projected to cost up to ten times less than cargo-van delivery (the prevailing option to date). Thankfully, Seattle researchers are expected to release their initial models of delivery drones in the near future. The initial run of the first drone fleet was scheduled to take place this month, but finalization of research and development may be delayed by the unexpected impact of COVID-19 in Washington and around the world. If these drones are successful and eventually expand throughout the United States, cannabis industry professionals (and their devoted fans) could subsequently see a significant cost reduction.

Drone delivery isn’t a brand new idea – in fact, drones have been implemented to deliver a number of commodities from food and mail to life-saving medications. In the years to come, technological developments may help the use of drones to become increasingly mainstream in our daily culture. Cannabis-delivery drones certainly aligns with our collective social progress toward a future that the Jetsons only dreamed about.

I’ve Droned On Long Enough

By now, I’ve hit all the high points of cannabis drones and the details available to the public so far. For those interested in learning more about the developing drone delivery system, I’ll be sure to keep the 710 Pipes blog updated with any pressing updates. In the meantime, if you’re in the market for head shop products, 710 Pipes is here for you. We carry a huge variety of popular products and accessories, like JUULs and other vaporizers, water pipes, hats, hat pins and so much more! Stop by our Northglenn head shop between 8AM-10PM, seven days a week. While our Colfax location is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, our Evans location remains open daily from 12-8PM. Denver University students get 10% off with a valid student ID!

We’ll see you soon!