Recreational marijuana business models still evolving

Nov 08 2017

Recreational marijuana business models still evolving

It’s one thing to forget you ordered some new headphones from Amazon and then be surprised when a package shows up on your door. It’s quite another thing to receive an unexpected delivery with 65 pounds of marijuana inside.

That’s what happened to a couple in Florida earlier this month when the Amazon delivery driver brought a rather surprising shipment to their door. According to USA Today, the couple “said they ordered plastic storage bins. They received the bins, but with the added bonus of 65 pounds of marijuana stuffed inside.”

One of the surprised recipients gave us another modest entry into the annals of local news stories, reportedly saying, “They were extremely heavy, heavier than you would think from ordering four empty bins.”

Both Amazon and the Orlando Police Department said they are coordinating to try to figure out where the delivery originated from.

While this is ultimately a trivial story about an illegal drug shipment gone awry, it actually hits on an important topic that will likely move to the forefront of the larger legalization discussion in coming years.

As more states look to legalize recreational marijuana, delivery systems will soon be on the minds of every marijuana distributor and dispensary across the country. Home delivery has already moved past trendy novelty to economic staple, with Amazon dominating the straight-to-your-doorstep market.

But they are far from the only player in the game. Subscription models have been exploding in popularity, with people paying for curated boxes of snacks, clothes, even video games. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how popular a tailored box of marijuana strains would be for those in the market for new buds.

But delivery isn’t the only evolution of the recreational marijuana market coming over the horizon.

Recreational marijuana is still an emerging industry, with fewer than half of U.S. states allowing the practice. But as the industry rapidly gains stronger footing, expect it to evolve just as quickly. Delivery systems and subscription models are just part of the equation for recreational marijuana dispensaries and distributors.

Smoking lounges, diverse arrays of edibles and other products, as well as membership/rewards systems are already emerging. Companies looking to capitalize on new revenue streams will have plenty of options available to them, it’s just a matter of who does it first, and best.

In a brand new marketplace, it’s not going to be enough just to have a seat at the table. Companies will have to innovate to stake out their piece of the very large recreational pie.