Autonomous vehicles will not be permitted to deliver marijuana in California.
The age of automation is upon us. Within 15 years, it is estimated that robots could occupy about 38 percent of jobs in the United States. Automation could change the way our society functions on several fronts. Besides the efficiency of mechanical employees and the loss of human jobs, we could be ushering in an age where face to face interaction is a fading reminder of generations past.
Unfortunately, for delivery workers, many are eagerly awaiting a future where the push of a button on their smartphone will instruct a quadcopter to drop off food, medicine, or any number of light weight items right to their doorstep.
But California residents hoping for marijuana to be dropped off by drones are in for a disappointment. The California Bureau of Cannabis Control has just announced that automated deliveries of marijuana will not be permitted. This means drones and self-driving cars are out of the picture, for now at least.
“Transportation may not be done by aircraft, watercraft, rail, drones, human-powered vehicles, or unmanned vehicles,” the bureau said in a PDF release. “Deliveries may be made only in person by enclosed motor vehicle. Cannabis goods may not be visible to the public during deliveries. Cannabis goods may not be left in an unattended motor vehicle unless the vehicle has an active alarm system. Vehicles used for delivery must have a dedicated, active GPS device that enables the dispensary to identify the geographic location of the vehicle during delivery.”
With recreational sales of marijuana expected to start in 2018, many startups may be disappointed to hear the news. But the law has never been an ally to the marijuana industry. Stronger obstacles have been overcome and the marijuana industry’s history of innovation and creativity is not likely to be upended by a ban on drones.
But maybe this is not such a bad thing, having to actually speak with someone to buy marijuana. At the very least, human interaction could survive, even if just for a bit longer.