The Coast News Group

Medical marijuana services share views on delivery regulations

OCEANSIDE — Medical marijuana services have split views on Oceanside’s regulations that allow delivery from licensed dispensaries outside the city.

Despite their differences, delivery services agree the law is a step in the right direction, and a complete solution is to also allow dispensaries.

Oceanside Organix delivery service, which works with licensed San Diego dispensaries, and according to its website dispensaries in Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Chino, can operate under city rules.

“As far as I’m told we’re fine under the regulations,” Rob (last name withheld), Oceanside Organix dispatcher, said.

The delivery service, that serves a small group of regular patients, has been operating for about a year.

Its business practices mirror the city’s requirements to have drivers at least 21 years old with criminal background checks, transport a limit of eight ounces of medical marijuana that is packaged and labeled with patients’ names, and carry sufficient insurance coverage.

The company includes the patient’s name on a receipt attached to the medication. “That’s how we do it,” Rob said. “We only have individual bags stapled and sealed.”

Rob said he would like to see the allowance of medical marijuana dispensaries within the city, which Oceanside ruled out due to safety concerns.

Rob said he feels dispensaries, which serve patients, could operate as safely as bars. He added they would step up and have security on site if that was a city requirement.

Rob said Oceanside Organix’s interest is to serve patients, which is challenging with evolving community consciousness about the benefits of medical marijuana, and changing laws.

“We’re trying to follow the law,” Rob said. “Work with us, so we can work with you.”

Eaze technology service, founded by Keith McCarty and based in San Francisco, has some gripes about Oceanside’s regulations, which its staff says do not allow the company to operate in Oceanside.

The company complies with driver requirements, but argues larger amounts of medication can be transported safely, and insurance requirements are too high.

“It would not be a viable situation to operate for us,” Seth Webb, Eaze government relations spokesman, said.

The company is a delivery coordinator. It connects patients, doctors, licensed dispensaries and delivery drivers through a technology platform its staff compares to Uber driver services. The company tracks drivers in real time GPS, and requires drivers to keep onboard medication under lock and key. Michaela Balderston, Eaze communications ambassador, said these practices ensure safety.

“We’re the leading technology company doing what we’re doing,” Balderston said. “The city council has not adequately considered the mechanics of how out-of-town deliveries are executed.”

Another company policy is not to label medication to ensure patients’ privacy. Instead the delivery tracking system keeps medical records.

Balderston said the technology service allows patients safe access to needed medication.

“It’s our big mission to help educate the general public about accessibility to patients,”

Balderston said. “There is more and more research being done on the multiple benefits (of medical marijuana). It helps patients with cancer, epilepsy, PTSD.”

The company has been operating in San Francisco for two years. It also operates in Orange County, and began deliveries in San Diego County six months ago. The company website boasts it operates in 80 cities and is expanding to other states.

Webb said the company may consider modifying operations to fit Oceanside’s law, and is in discussions with the city to reach regulation amendments.

Webb said a meeting with the city is scheduled for next week. Part of the discussion is to request the allowance of licensed dispensaries within the city to balance the small amount of medication drivers are allowed to transport.