Marijuana delivery service expands in state after L.A. operations halted

Marijuana delivery service expands across California after L.A. operations halted

A medical marijuana delivery app that was shut down in Los Angeles announced Thursday that it will be offering its services in other cities across California and in Seattle and Portland.

Nestdrop will deliver to medical marijuana patients in Pasadena, Glendale, Garden Grove and Fullerton, with plans to set up operations in San Diego, the company said in a press statement. The company is also providing delivery to patients in Stockton and San Francisco.

The expansion comes after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O’Brien ordered the company to halt its pot deliveries within the city.

In December, Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer filed a lawsuit against Nestdrop, arguing that the app violates Proposition D, the voter-approved measure that placed restrictions on pot shops operating in the city. Feuer contended that the city-wide measure bars any type of medical marijuana delivery.

Nestdrop co-founder Michael Pycher has countered that the company is a technological service and not subject to Prop. D regulations.

The company doesn’t handle or distribute marijuana, but links patients to legally sanctioned dispensaries, whose workers shuttle the marijuana, he said. A spokesman likened the app to GrubHub, which allows customers to purchase takeout food online but has restaurants conduct the actual delivery.

Users are required to upload a photo of their doctor’s note along with a government-issued ID card to purchase some products, according to the company. During the actual delivery, customers also must show their ID.

“We are helping people that for whatever reason may be uncomfortable going to a dispensary or prefer further privacy in order to access their medicinal needs,” Pycher said.

Feuer has argued that the company’s business model amounts to abetting illegal activity.

The battle between Nestdrop and the city has proceeded to a state appellate court. The company said it will soon file a motion seeking to lift the judge's order barring its operations in L.A. while the appeal drags on.

To finance its legal costs, the company launched an online crowd-sourcing campaign last month. As of Thursday, the campaign had raised just more than $2,000 of the $70,000 goal.

Shutting down Nestdrop is part of Feuer's larger crackdown on pot shops since he took office. This month, Feuer announced his office has closed more than 500 medical marijuana shops in the last two years.

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno.

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