Pot de­liv­ery app looks else­where af­ter L.A. ban

Nest­drop aims to of­fer med­i­cal mar­i­juana ser­vice in cities from San Diego to Seat­tle.

Los Angeles Times - - LOS ANGELES - By Matt Hamil­ton matt.hamil­tion@la­times.com

A med­i­cal mar­i­juana de­liv­ery app that was shut down in Los An­ge­les an­nounced Thurs­day that it will be of­fer­ing its ser­vices in other cities across Cal­i­for­nia and in Seat­tle and Port­land, Ore.

Nest­drop will de­liver to med­i­cal mar­i­juana pa­tients in Pasadena, Glen­dale, Gar­den Grove and Fuller­ton, with plans to set up op­er­a­tions in San Diego, the com­pany said in a press state­ment. The com­pany is also de­liv­er­ing to pa­tients in Stock­ton and San Fran­cisco.

The ex­pan­sion comes af­ter Los An­ge­les County Su­pe­rior Court Judge Robert O’Brien or­dered the com­pany to halt its pot de­liv­er­ies within the city.

In De­cem­ber, Los An­ge­les City Atty. Mike Feuer filed a law­suit against Nest­drop, ar­gu­ing that the app vi­o­lates Propo­si­tion D, the voter-ap­proved mea­sure that placed re­stric­tions on pot shops op­er­at­ing in the city. Feuer con­tended that the city­wide mea­sure bars any type of med­i­cal mar­i­juana de­liv­ery.

Nest­drop co­founder Michael Py­cher has coun­tered that the com­pany is a tech­no­log­i­cal ser­vice and not sub­ject to Propo­si­tion D reg­u­la­tions.

The com­pany doesn’t han­dle or dis­trib­ute mar­i­juana but links pa­tients to legally sanc­tioned dis­pen­saries, whose work­ers shut­tle the pot, he said. A spokesman likened the app to GrubHub, which al­lows cus­tomers to pur­chase take­out food on­line but has restau­rants con­duct the de­liv­ery.

Each user is re­quired to upload a photo of a doc­tor’s note along with a gov­ern­ment-is­sued ID card to pur­chase some prod­ucts, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany. Dur­ing the ac­tual de­liv­ery, the cus­tomer also must show his ID.

“We are help­ing peo­ple that for what­ever rea­son may be un­com­fort­able go­ing to a dis­pen­sary or pre­fer fur­ther pri­vacy in or­der to ac­cess their medic­i­nal needs,” Py­cher said.

Feuer has ar­gued that the com­pany’s busi­ness model amounts to abetting il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity.

The battle be­tween Nest­drop and the city has pro­ceeded to a state ap­pel­late court. The com­pany said it would soon file a mo­tion seek­ing to lift the judge’s or­der bar­ring its op­er­a­tions in L.A. while the ap­peal drags on.

To fi­nance its legal costs, the com­pany launched an on­line crowd-sourc­ing cam­paign last month. As of Thurs­day, the cam­paign had raised a lit­tle more than $2,000 of the $70,000 goal.

Shut­ting down Nest­drop is part of Feuer’s larger crack­down on pot shops since he took of­fice. This month, Feuer an­nounced his of­fice had closed more than 500 med­i­cal mar­i­juana shops in the last two years.

Evan Halper Los An­ge­les Times

NEST­DROP FOUNDERS Raddy Rad­nia, left, and Michael Py­cher pitch their con­cept for a mar­i­juana de­liv­ery app at a con­fer­ence in Ne­vada last year.

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