Those trying to snag some pot in Seattle are seeing their options dwindle.
First, the one store that began selling legal recreational pot on July 8 sold out quickly and expects a two week delay before the next shipment comes in.
Now, the city’s most popular weed delivery service has suddenly changed its policy and will only offer pot to those with medical marijuana cards.
Winterlife Co-op has closed down for today and Friday. A recorded message on the company’s phone line notes that “due to current legislation, Winterlife is undergoing some changes in order to protect our customers and crew.”
The recording notes that only those with medical authorization and a Washington state driver’s license will now be able to buy pot from Winterlife.
The service, which debuted in late 2013, has been making headlines recently and was featured by the Associated Press earlier this week. It was rather easy for anyone over 21 years of age to order pot — simply check out their menu online, call the hotline, meet your guy at a pre-determined location, and swap cash for weed.
While it’s been legal for adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana in Washington since December 2012, the delivery business was illegal under Washington law. Despite that, police did not seem worried enough to take action.
That may have changed, especially with the recreational stores opening. It’s unclear if authorities have cracked down on Winterlife, or if the company is just taking cautionary measures. But there’s no doubt that its bottom line will be taking a big hit.
The AP story noted that Winterlife had 50 full and part-time employees, and was doing 400-to-600 orders per day. With a minimum order of $50, the startup was pulling in at least $20,000 each day — and likely much more than that.
It will be interesting to see if police crack down on Winterlife and similar services in Seattle, now that the state is selling recreational pot in its stores. There are plenty of options — ATM Delivery Service, Club Racoons and DowntownDev just to name a few — that operate just like Winterlife did.
Whether or not those companies continue selling to anybody remains to be seen. Legal grey area around marijuana delivery has kept Canary founders Megh Vakharia and Josiah Tullis hesitant to enter the recreational market. The University of Washington students, who we profiled last month, are building a service that delivers pot — but for now, they’re focusing on the medical marijuana market since the laws around delivering recreational pot are less clear.
Many say that Washington should change their laws to allow for recreational marijuana delivery services. Winterlife founder Evan Cox told the AP that he recently met with lawyers to figure out how to remain in business.
“He basically told us how we could best try and adhere to the current law in a way that would make us defensible,” Cox told the AP.
See Cox’s interview in the AP’s video on Winterlife here: