California Takes Pot Shot at Autonomous Weed Delivery

By: Bridget Clerkin September 18, 2017
California has banned the use of self-driving vehicles for marijuana delivery.
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Robo-cars may be delivering groceries, but when it comes to California, they won’t be bringing herbs.

The state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control banned autonomous vehicles from delivering marijuana in a set of regulations released earlier this month.

The protocol was part of a report on how businesses can handle the substance once it becomes legal in California on January 1.

And aside from Silicon Valley’s favorite pet project, it bars several other popular methods of transportation from weed delivery, including “aircraft, watercraft, rail, drones, human-powered vehicles, or unmanned vehicles.”

The report goes on to outline a number of rules related to how companies can dispense the drug. Deliveries can only be made in person, and drivers must possess a GPS and an enclosed vehicle. Similarly, the product must be kept out of public sight during the course of both its transportation and the transaction.

The report is just one way the state is preparing its roads for legalized pot—and protecting them from stoned drivers. 

Another law prohibiting the smoking or consuming of cannabis while driving was signed into law this week by California Governor Jerry Brown. While legislation already exists in the Golden State making it illegal to drive while high, the additional ban covers smoking or eating edibles while at the helm of a vehicle, similar to an open container law.

And the state may be right to worry about weed behind the wheel. A recently released federal report on the subject suggests that stoned driving may be on the rise, with 22% of drivers stopped as part of the nationwide study testing positive for tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active component of marijuana.

All told, once January rolls around, the state’s stoners will have to seek a designated driver instead—or just stay home. And if they get the munchies, they can always have a robo-car bring them some pizza.

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