Detroit dispensary opens first licensed pot delivery service

Utopia Gardens General Manager Donnell Cravens fills out state-required paperwork before making a medical-marijuana delivery, Wednesday afternoon, May 8, 2019. Utopia Gardens is the first medical-marijuana provisioning center approved by the State of Michigan to deliver the medical cannabis. (Todd McInturf/Detroit News via AP)

By BREANA NOBLE

The Detroit News

AP Member Exchange

DETROIT — One Detroit dispensary has made buying pot almost as easy as ordering a pizza.

“This is amazing,” said 34-year-old Rashon Massey after Utopia Gardens LLC manager Donnell Cravens rolled up to his Detroit residence with $70 in joints of Elmer’s Glue hybrid and Sunshine Daydream indica and a vape cartridge of Durban Poison sativa. “I never imagined Michigan would see something like this so soon. It’s like ordering Uber Eats.”

Utopia Gardens recently made its first medical marijuana deliveries. Its service is the first for pot approved by the state of Michigan. The licensed provisioning center is hoping the deliveries will help provide safe access and reverse a downward trend in sales as unlicensed deliverers have proliferated.

“The illegal dispensaries are beating the snot out of us,” Utopia Gardens owner Stuart Carter told The Detroit News. “It’s the black market, and it’s only growing.”

Customers looking to obtain tested marijuana from a licensed facility, however, now can go to utopiagardens.com or call 313-332-0544 to order cannabis. Patients must upload or text a photo of their license and state medical marijuana card. Delivery takes 35-45 minutes, according to its website.

There is no delivery fee, but there is a minimum order of $50 for Wayne County residents and $100 for those living in Macomb and Oakland counties. Under state rules, Utopia Gardens must deliver to the address on a patient’s license.

The service only accepts debit cards so as to avoid its driver traveling with cash. It is available from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Patients also can schedule delivery ahead of time and have the option to pick up the order themselves.

“We are literally just rolling this out,” said Garrett Carter, Utopia Gardens manager and Stuart’s son. “It means ease of access for medication for our patients who don’t have the means of travel or are ill or cannot travel. We’re just trying to provide as much access to the patient as much as possible without them actually having to come into the shop.”

Rules adopted by the Michigan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules in November opened the way for licensed provisioning centers to deliver cannabis. The rules allow delivery of up to 2.5 ounces to no more than 10 patients at a time. Provisioning centers must log the marijuana and track their vehicles by GPS.

Utopia Gardens and two other licensed dispensaries recently received approval for deliveries. Detroit’s BotaniQ expects to begin service soon, and Portage’s Lake Effect Group LLC plans to launch within the coming weeks.