There’s a growing need to transport cannabis from farms to dispensaries
Armed men transporting bundles of marijuana in unmarked vans might seem like an illegal activity, but in states such as Colorado and Oregon, it’s a legitimate business.
There’s a growing need to transport cannabis from farms to dispensaries, and with Department of Transportation-regulated trucks and drivers legally barred from carrying the product, new transportation companies are stepping in to meet market needs.
Legal cannabis sales are growing at an annual rate of 17 percent and are expected to reach $13.3 billion in 2020, according to a report by New Frontier Data.
Recreational marijuana is now legal in seven states and the District of Columbia, and medical marijuana is legal in 29 states. California’s Proposition 64 – the “Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act” – will go into effect in 2018 and make the state the largest legal marijuana market in the world.
Yet transporting the crop presents challenges, including the fact that it can’t cross state lines.
Already, a number of companies are offering specialized transportation services for cannabis growers and retailers in some of the states that are pioneering the industry.
Because the sector operates primarily in cash and has a small, valuable and untraceable product, security is a top concern, said Noah Stokes, president and chief executive of CannaGuard Security, which is based in Portland and also services clients in Washington, Illinois and Florida.
“Pound for pound, it’s like transporting gold. And there are no serial numbers on it. Customers have to pay in cash, and it’s all difficult to insure,” Stokes said.
CannaGuard started operations three years ago and now has a highly secured 40,000-square-foot warehouse, a fleet of armored vehicles and 140 employees, many of whom are military veterans.
Although a state such as Oregon may produce “several hundred thousand pounds” in a harvest season, most of the loads CannaGuard transports are in small portions, ranging from 10 pounds up to several hundred, to reduce liability and keep the vans small, Stokes said.
“We’re not loading up semi-trucks with product and driving them anywhere. It’s small quantities in box trucks and vans going up and down I-5,” Stokes said.
CannaGuard transports packaged cannabis and “edibles”– cookies and candies made with cannabis – between farms and dispensaries. And like most marijuana transporters, CannaGuard also hauls large amounts of cash. Because FDIC-insured banks cannot accept money from the cannabis business, those in the industry must store their cash in vaults or transport it to specialized banks.
Read The Rest Of This Article On Trucks.com