NEW YORK - Jeffery Tanner has been ordering medical marijuana from Vireo Health for over four years.
"I used to draw. I can't draw or sign my signature, it's not the same anymore," Tanner explained. "So I went to the doctor, and he said, 'Well, why don't you try [medical marijuana]. And I thought OK, I'll give it a shot. Well, sure enough, I can draw a little bit again now."
But making the drive to pick it up is not an option. So Tanner has opted for home delivery.
"Are you kidding me?" Tanner said, chuckling. "I don't have to drive anywhere? Well, I can't drive anyway but no one has to come and get me."
After Tanner makes the order, he gets a text when it's on its way.
"They're there and I'm here," Tanner said, pointing to his screen. "It will also tell you how many minutes they will be here."
When the state Legislature passed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act last year, it expanded the medical marijuana market and started the process for recreational marijuana sales. Although the rollout has been slow-moving, home delivery will be one option for recreational users.
And companies like Vireo Health are getting a head start, according to Michael Sarcona, Vireo Health's senior director of home delivery operations.
"We'll be able to analyze what we've learned from delivering to medical marijuana patients in order to serve the recreational market as well," Sarcona said. "It should be a very smooth transition."
Vireo Health can deliver medical marijuana to patients within a 65-mile radius. Right now, the company is going to stick to next-day deliveries but once the recreational marijuana market opens up, that could change.
"We did have same-day delivery in 2019 up until the pandemic hit," Sarcona said. "We would like to bring it back later this year but we're kind of trying to see where the regulations are. The constant changing is a challenge."
But there is hope.
Jen Metzger, a member of the Cannabis Control Board, which oversees the marijuana industry in New York, said she expects regulations for adult-use cannabis will be released in about two months.
"We lost about six months just getting started because of delays in getting appointments to the Cannabis Control Board," Metzger said. "But we've really been working to make up that time. I'm hoping that by the end of this year we will be able to have some dispensaries opening their doors."