No, Eaze is NOT a medical marijuana delivery service.
Its owners say it is a smartphone app and online website that facilitates the conveyance of weed to your doorstep. It’s kind of like Uber and Lyft, which argue they aren’t taxi services and subject to that industry’s regulation.
Of course, there isn’t an established mobile weed delivery industry that is regulated by government to assure customer safety, protect employee rights, set insurance standards and collect taxes. So, based on competition, Eaze isn’t exactly like its ride-sharing soulmates, but its close enough that the city of San Francisco is paying attention.
The S.F.-based startup launched last month in its hometown with an online program that is still awaiting Apple Store approval to be distributed as an app. Unlike other dispensaries that deliver (and often don’t have a storefront), Eaze provides a link between a customer, a driver and pot from a number of facilities.
“Order in seconds. Delivered in minutes,” its website proclaims. In its pitch to dispensaries to participate in the service, Eaze says it “handles the end-to-end process from patient verification, to ordering, and even delivery logistics so you can generate more revenue with less work.”
“Do you drive professionally and know a thing or two about marijuana?” If so, you can “join the fleet” and make up to $45 an hour in S.F. and future venues in Los Angeles, Seattle and Boulder, Colorado. You also have to drive your own car. The San Francisco Chronicle said drivers make more like $10 an hour.
San Francisco, other localities and the state are locked in battle with app-driven startups like Uber and Airbnb over their under-the-regulatory-radar business models. Their unease is explained in part by the Terms and Conditions that Eaze sets for its customers:
“You understand, therefore, that by using the application and the service, you may be exposed to a delivery service that is potentially dangerous, offensive, harmful to minors, unsafe or otherwise objectionable, and that you use the application and the service at your own risk.”
Eaze “will not assess the suitability, legality or ability of any third party delivery service providers” and renounces any liability for their actions. If someone screws up, Eaze insists on binding arbitration in all disputes, outside of small claims court.
Eaze, which does not charge customers for its service, collects money from participating dispensaries. One big difference between Uber and Eaze is Eaze won’t take a credit card. Possession and sale of marijuana is still a violation of federal law, curtailing the participation of banks and credit card companies.
Eaze was started by former Yammer employee Keith McCarty and is run out of his apartment for now. But he told CNBC he is already talking to investors and expects to obtain funding for expansion soon.