Pot delivery app looks elsewhere after L.A. ban
Nestdrop aims to offer medical marijuana service in cities from San Diego to Seattle.
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.
NESTDROP FOUNDERS Raddy Radnia, left, and Michael Pycher pitch their concept for a marijuana delivery app at a conference in Nevada last year.