Drones and Self-Driving Cars Can’t Legally Deliver Marijuana in This State

When retail outlets in California finally get permission to start selling recreational marijuana at the start of 2018, thanks to a vote last year, there’s one notable way they won’t be able to deliver the drug—by drone.

This became clear in regulations issued last week by the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control. As first spotted by Ars Technica, deliveries will be possible, but under tight conditions.

Specifically, it will only be able to deliver pot in “in person by enclosed motor vehicle.” That doesn’t just nix drone deliveries of weed, of course—it also means self-driving cars can’t be used for that purpose either.

People have already used drones to deliver cannabis to recipients in prisons in England, Canada and the U.S.—always illegally, of course—but the convergence of the drone and legal-weed trends seems to be a way off.

This will put a crimp in the plans of weed delivery startups such as Eaze, which earlier this year demonstrated how drones could be used to get marijuana into customers’ hands. “It’s not that far away,” Eaze public relations chief Sheena Shiravi said at the time.

The Californian rules say marijuana deliveries must be made to physical addresses and are banned from public lands or “buildings leased by public agencies.”

“Cannabis goods may not be left in an unattended motor vehicle unless the vehicle has an active alarm system,” they state. “Vehicles used for delivery must have a dedicated, active GPS device that enables the dispensary to identify the geographic location of the vehicle during delivery.”

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