Marijuana delivery is efficient. Marijuana delivery is convenient. Marijuana delivery is illegal.
At least that's the case in the city of Los Angeles, where voters passed a measure, 2013's Proposition D, that outlaws delivery of otherwise legal medical cannabis except by “primary caregivers” such as home nurses.
“There is no lawful delivery service under Proposition D,” L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer has said.
Yet delivery services have, er, mushroomed, and SpeedWeed is the local big daddy of them all. Prosecutors say it has 25,000 customers.
Today the City Attorney's Office announced that it's asking a judge to shut it down. It's the second major delivery service targeted by city prosecutors. In late 2014 a judge ordered that Nestdrop stop delivering weed in L.A. after a similar filing by the office.
Prosecutors say that Proposition D does not allow for commercial delivery of cannabis, that a vehicle out of which marijuana is sold is allegedly operating as an illegal dispensary, and that SpeedWeed's brick-and-mortar “delivery centers” could be violating state law because they're allegedly unpermitted dispensaries.
The company advertises quick-and-easy pot delivery, via its website or toll-free number, for doctor-recommended patients.
The City Attorney's Office suggests that SpeedWeed's distribution hubs allegedly “cultivate” and “process” pot outside the purview of Proposition D, which outlaws all dispensaries but which allows limited legal immunity for 135 or fewer pot shops that were somewhat compliant starting in 2007.
The complaint filed in L.A. Superior Court alleges that, since at least July 10, 2014, SpeedWeed has developed a delivery service that shows “flagrant” and “blatant” disregard for the will of the voters.
SpeedWeed's whole setup is a “flagrant attempt to avoid the restrictions on the unregulated and illegal delivery of marijuana by motor vehicles …,” the complaint states.
Interestingly, Nestdrop claimed it was legal because it simply provided a platform to connect patients with what it described as legit deliverers.
That doesn't seem to be SpeedWeed's M.O. The City Attorney's Office says SpeedWeed has seven delivery centers of its own. The city attorney wants a judge to shut them down if they're in the city. But it's not clear if they're in the city.
“Unlike Nestdrop, SpeedWeed does not claim they are only a platform to connect with pre-existing delivery services,” city attorney's spokesman Frank Mateljan told us. “We allege SpeedWeed both sells and delivers marijuana and is comprised of a number of related corporate entities controlled by the same individual defendants. We allege SpeedWeed violates Proposition D by illegally delivering marijuana and also by using multiple non-immune physical locations within the city as distribution centers for these deliveries.”*
We reached out to SpeedWeed but didn't hear back.
“We do it the right way,” the service says on its website. “We follow the law.”
“SpeedWeed supports the closing of any illegal or shady 'pot shops,'” the site says. “SpeedWeed is here to serve the community, not denigrate it.”
The service was founded in 2011. A corporate officer and co-founder, A.J. Gentile, has been an outspoken advocate of his business.
He's named in the suit along with corporate officer Jennifer Costa.
The City Attorney's Office wants more than just a shutdown: The request for an injunction also seeks $2,500 per day in civil penalties since July 10, 2014, which, by our limited reporter math, could amount to nearly $1.5 million.
“Marijuana delivery services circumvent the will of the voters who passed Proposition D,” Feuer says. “My office will continue to ensure that only qualified patients, and primary caregivers, can transport medical marijuana.”
*This quote was added to the story at 4:10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 19.