Kern County’s cannabis dispensaries are looking to expand their delivery services amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with one business aiming to begin daily delivery to Bakersfield in the near future.
In the past week, GreenStone Cannabis Retail Store in California City has increased from bi-weekly to daily delivery services in Palmdale, Lancaster and Tehachapi and is planning to soon make the jump to daily deliveries in Bakersfield as well, according to co-owner Amanda Adolf.
“The past week we’ve seen a slight increase in demand, especially for delivery with people practicing social distancing,” Adolf said. “We’ve only been open six months so we don’t have much to compare it to.”
Both the Bakersfield City Council and the Kern County Board of Supervisors voted to ban sales of marijuana and the county's ban came into full effect in May 2019. However, cities are allowed to implement their own ordinances regarding the sale of commercial cannabis, and California City elected to allow it within city limits.
GreenStone, which has been open since September 2019, offers delivery within a 75-mile radius servicing communities from Ridgecrest to Bakersfield, which it currently delivers to on a bi-weekly basis.
The dispensary has four drivers and is looking to hire more with its planned expansion of services.
On March 20, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order for all Californians to stay home except for essential needs and the state’s cannabis industry fell into that category. Even if the dispensaries were ordered to close, Adolf said she would have continued serving her customers.
“There were discussions whether we would be closed and I told customers that I would maintain an open store because it is my belief that we are an essential business,” Adolf said.
According to an Associated Press report, California has recently seen a large increase in delivery and pickup orders during the COVID-19 breakout, with a 66 percent increase in order volume during the second week of March. Sales upticks are also taking place in Colorado and Washington, according to the AP.
GreenStone has increased its already regimented sanitary procedures as Adolf has had to be more vigilant with the staff about wearing gloves. The store is also restricting the number of customers allowed in the store in order to comply with social distancing recommendations.
“We only allow six-to-10 customers maximum on the sales floor, and the same applies to our lobby waiting area,” Adolf said.
California City's newest cannabis retail store, Royal Apothecary, has only been open for two weeks but has already noticed an emphasis on delivery orders as well, according to Leo Colon, the store’s manager. Tuesday was only their third day offering daily delivery to the Lancaster and Palmdale areas and they’re looking to expand their delivery radius as well.
“Delivery has been doing very well,” Colon said. “We are planning to expand our delivery to Bakersfield in the near future, but we’re just starting up so everything’s been a learning experience.”