In a historic decision, last week the Fairfax Planning Commission approved a plan for the first regulated and licensed delivery service for medical marijuana in the United States. Lynette Shaw, founder and director of the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM) in Fairfax, says that the decision caps a 13-year quest to provide home delivery to patients unable to travel to her dispensary, the oldest of its kind in California. Shaw hopes to start the delivery service to Fairfax residents by July 1 and eventually expand into greater Marin, where an estimated "hundreds" of patients have been served by renegade delivery services.
"I think this is much better for the operator, because there are rules to go by," Shaw says.
"This reduces the fears and concerns nearly 100 percent."
Under the plan, two people hired by MAMM would be allowed to deliver marijuana to registered members' homes between the hours of 9am and 5pm: one, a clean and sober bonded and licensed driver; the other, a member of the collective authorized to handle medical marijuana. There will be no drug testing for drivers—"That's the purview of their supervisor," Shaw says—though background checks will be required. The MAMM drivers will be allowed to handle up to $2,500 of marijuana and $2,500 in cash at a time.
Other delivery services for medical marijuana exist in the Bay Area, such as Green Cross in San Francisco, but none is officially regulated. As early as 1997, Shaw had begun negotiating with the town of Fairfax to set up a regulated delivery service to combat the robbers and "perverts" she says have tried to take advantage of the gray-area legality of medical marijuana.
The planning commission also voted to allow minors to enter the dispensary if they are accompanied by parents or medical professionals, which is common practice at other state dispensaries. That change in MAMM's use permit, as well as concerns for safety regarding the delivery system, caused commissioners Pamela Meigs and Peter Lacques to abstain and vote no, respectively.
Though disappointed in the dissenting commissioners, Shaw remains proud of Fairfax's landmark vote. "There are 23 delivery services advertising they'll deliver to Fairfax right now, which means we have 23 strangers in town delivering weed," she says. "We might as well have it regulated and have the sales tax income go to Fairfax, and have it delivered by someone that they trust and know. Our reputation is sterling."