Now that recreational weed is legal in California, anyone over age 21 can buy marijuana in limited amounts. You can even have it brought to your front door, thanks to delivery platforms like Eaze and SpeedWeed.
To get an idea of what it's really like to deliver weed as a side hustle or a full-time job, I spent a day with SpeedWeed employee Ken Breese. He started with the company four years ago as a driver and has since worked his way up to director of operations, but he still picks up a driving shift here and there.
SpeedWeed, which has been around since 2011, used to operate as a medical marijuana delivery company. It's no longer a delivery service, Breese explains — rather, it's a delivery platform that partners with pot shops and helps them run compliant, on-demand delivery. The drivers are technically employed by the shops, he notes, and not SpeedWeed.
I meet Breese in Studio City, Los Angeles, and hop in his Mazda 3 Hatchback. Here's how the day unfolds.
SpeedWeed has partnered with five dispensaries around Los Angeles, including Coast to Coast Cannabis in Canoga Park, which is where we'll start and end our day. "Any delivery needs to, by law, originate from the licensee's location and then needs to terminate there as well," Breese tells me. And all deliveries have to be made between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Walking into Coast to Coast is sort of like walking into a sleek chocolate shop: There's a tidy window display featuring all of the offered cannabis strains, plus a back wall featuring of a bunch of products from various pot brands. People wait in line to be helped by an employee, order what they want and pay.
Besides the sales floor, Coast to Coast has 10 grow rooms that produce more than 30 different strains.
At the shop, we check in with the SpeedWeed shift lead on duty. She packs the orders and makes sure the driver is leaving with all of the documentation they need. "We try to make it so the driver just has to show up with their [SpeedWeed] shirt on and then everything else is taken care of," says Breese.
We're making two deliveries today. The orders are packed in an opaque "exit bag" and then heat-sealed. We place them in a black SpeedWeed backpack, sign out with the shift lead, who also will track the drivers in real time as they make their deliveries, and head back to the parking lot.
I'm not allowed to be in the car with Breese when he has weed on him, but my video producer and I follow him in our rental.
Our first delivery is for comedian Brian Redban, who helped launch the podcast, "The Joe Rogan Experience."
SpeedWeed has a lot of celebrity clients, including several stand-up comedians. In general, the clientele is more affluent, Breese tells me, "just because delivery can be a little more expensive." Products cost more if you have them delivered instead of going into the store; plus, there's an $8 delivery fee if your order is under $40.
The delivery service also appeals to people who aren't comfortable going into a pot shop. "There's a lot of soccer mom types who just don't want to go into a dispensary," says Breese. "It can be intimidating."
Another significant chunk of their clients are people who can't leave their homes for medical reasons, he adds.
Anyone over 21 can become a SpeedWeed member. You simply register on the site, provide a valid ID and proof of address and can then order cannabis directly to your door.
The drive from Coast to Coast to Redban's home takes about 45 minutes. I get a true taste of LA traffic.
We find parking on the street near Redban's home, Breese grabs his backpack and we head to the front door. The drop off is simple: Clients can track their order on the app, so Redban is expecting us when we ring the doorbell. He pays with a card (customers can also pay in cash) and opens the package to confirm the order is correct. It's filled with cannabis-infused dark chocolate and half-and-half, and his go-to order: pre-rolled joints. SpeedWeed's menu includes everything from flowers and edibles to concentrates and beverages.
We say goodbye to Redban, head back to our cars and start driving to our next destination: comedian Adam Hunter's house. You may know him from his "MMA Roasted" podcast.
Hunter meets us on his front lawn and chats for a good 15 minutes.
"The great thing about this job is you're always bringing happiness," Breese tells me. That said, as with any job where you're frequently dealing with customers, "you get those problem folks."
We only make two deliveries, but a full driving shift is six hours. Drivers can generally complete at least two deliveries per hour — and four, max. That's if you get lucky with traffic, says Breese.
After we leave Hunter's house, he'll head back to Coast to Coast to wrap up his shift.
SpeedWeed drivers work six-hour shifts — up to 30 hours per week — and earn $12 an hour. They also get paid $0.58 per mile driven and keep 100% of any tips they earn.
The tips can be "very generous," says Breese. He once made a $200 tip off of an $800 order. And most clients, about 75%, he estimates, leave gratuity.
Weekends are the most lucrative, simply because there are more customers placing orders. "People order weed when they're sitting around with nothing to do, I find," says Breese. The more deliveries, the more miles drivers will log and chances they'll have to earn tips.
Drivers use their own cars, pay for their own gas and use their own Smartphone data while on the job, but they get a small monthly stipend to help offset some of those costs.
For starters, you need a car, up-to-date insurance and a valid driver's license. You also have to be over 21 and need a Smartphone to complete deliveries.
Particularly when delivering to high profile clients, it's important "not to freak out," says Breese. "We want to be discreet."
If you don't mind spending a lot of time in traffic, it can be a great way to get your foot in the door in the cannabis industry, says Breese: "It's a good starter job: You get exposed to some products, you get to prove that you do know how to handle yourself, you're doing customer service and you also prove to the people at the shop that you're responsible."
Plus, it's "a very chill job," he adds. "The people you deal with are generally very happy to see you and if there is a problem, they're down to just fix it."
A lot of SpeedWeed employees end up progressing from a driver to a shift lead, "and in the corporate office, we've hired a couple people out of this current crop of shift leads," says Breese.
Typically, he has no problem finding drivers. "I put one ad up on a popular job site, and within a couple of days, I had 500 resumes," says Breese. "We're in a time now where people want to get into cannabis in any way possible."
Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!