Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Business
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Legal marijuana delivery companies in Wash. and Colo. skirting the law, delivering highs

In this photo taken June 5, 2014, Even Cox, co-founder of marijuana delivery company Winterlife, poses for a photo in Seattle as an employee packages pot for delivery behind him. Cox began his business by advertising on Craigslist, and now he has around 50 full and part-time employees. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Enlarge Image

In this photo taken June 5, 2014, Even Cox, co-founder of marijuana delivery company Winterlife, poses for a photo in Seattle as an employee packages pot for delivery behind him. Cox began his business by advertising on Craigslist, and now he has around 50 full and part-time employees. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SEATTLE - William "Jackrabbit" Large pulls his SUV onto the side of a downtown Seattle street, parking behind an Amazon Fresh delivery truck and carrying a product the online retailer doesn't offer: marijuana.

The thin, bespectacled Large is a delivery man for Winterlife, a Seattle company that is among a group of new businesses pushing the limits of Washington state's recreational pot industry by offering to bring marijuana to almost any doorstep.

"It's an opportunity that should not be missed," Large says with the kind of fast-talking voice meant for radio.

While delivery services have existed for years to supply medical marijuana patients, the rise of similar businesses geared toward serving recreational users in Washington and Colorado highlights how the industry is outpacing the states' pot laws.

Winterlife's business model is a felony under Washington state law, which allows only the sale of pot grown by licensed producers at licensed retail shops.

Lawmakers should consider changing that, said Alison Holcomb, the author of the 2012 voter initiative that legalized the recreational use of pot, because providing more ways to access marijuana will help push people to the legal pot market.

In Colorado, where marijuana regulations require sales to be done in licensed dispensaries, there's a flourishing market online for marijuana deliveries made in exchange for donations.

The law allows adults over 21 to give one another up to an ounce of marijuana, provided it is done "without remuneration."

The only known case of criminal charges brought against a Colorado delivery service came last year, when the owner of a pot-for-donations service in the Colorado Springs area faced felony distribution charges. He committed suicide before trial.

In Washington, where the legal pot industry kicked off last week, companies like Winterlife jumped into fill demand from consumers for marijuana while the state spent the past 19 months building the regulations and licensing growers and retailers.

Winterlife co-founder Evan Cox, a vegan and bicyclist enthusiast, began by advertising on Craigslist and made deliveries.

Now he has around 50 full and part-time employees, including 25 to 30 delivery personnel in cars and bicycles. Operators field between 400 and 600 calls a day.

"We found a way to really fill the need that the Washington voter said that there is," he says from his company's headquarters, where workers busily sort, cut and package their different marijuana products into branded clear bags.

The Winterlife model is simple. They have a website that features their products - marijuana flowers, edibles and pipes. After making a call, the consumer's phone is relayed to a driver, who then asks them where they want to meet.

Cox is fully aware of the shaky legal ground where he stands.

All of the drivers operate under animal-inspired pseudonyms. There's a jackrabbit, a wombat, a possum, among others.

Cox is also mostly staying within Seattle, where police have tolerated the company's presence and voters in the city made marijuana crimes a low priority for law enforcement years ago.

As the business kept growing, Cox decided to visit an attorney for advice. The company hopes that by checking the identification of its customers and opting not to mail the product it will avoid legal trouble.

Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, a spokesman for the Seattle Police Department, said Winterlife is undermining the spirit of the legal marijuana law. So far, he said, the police department has bigger priorities.

But he said the department could change its stance if it receives information about underage sales or other complaints. The department recently seized more than 2,200 plants from a medical marijuana grow that was bothering neighbours.

Minnesota resident Kendra Davis heard from her sister about Winterlife and gave them a call on a recent visit to Seattle. She met Large behind the Amazon delivery truck.

"I figured while I'm here I might as well partake where it's legal," says Davis, who added that she did not start smoking until she was 30. "The kind of high we're looking for is the giggly fun," she tells Large.

Then she buys a handful of truffles and a quarter ounce.

___

Associated Press writer Kristen Wyatt in Denver contributed to this report.

___

Manuel Valdes can be reached at http://twitter.com/ByManuelValdes

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Sudden Surge: Flood of 2014
Opportunity Magazine — The Bakken
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media

Canadian Mortgage Rates