For the past several years, driving for Uber and Lyft was a great way to pick up some extra cash. Whether you were doing it as a side hustle or stopgap in between jobs, driving folks around could help pay the bills.
But now folks have upgraded from delivering people to their destinations to transporting cannabis, as the San Francisco Chronicle recently highlighted. While some still drive for Uber and Lyft on the side, one Bay Area cannabis company has claimed to have hired more than 100 drivers away from the ride-sharing apps.
And they do mean hire. As anyone working for various ride-sharing apps understands, most delivery drivers work as independent contractors. That means companies aren’t liable to provide benefits, including health insurance or expenses accumulated while on the job.
Thanks to California laws passed last January, cannabis delivery drivers must be hired as full-time employees. That means those drivers receive compensation for miles driven and cell phone use on the job, and are eligible to such perks as health insurance, overtime pay, vacation time, and, in some cases, a 401(k) plan. Companies in the gig economy legally can’t offer their workers any of those benefits. In addition, independent contractors must pay all their own taxes at year’s end, and all their own expenses.
“People might think that the employees smoke weed or are potheads, which—there’s nothing wrong with that,” one marijuana delivery driver told the Chronicle. “But a lot of employees just work there for the money, and because it’s a great place to work.”
Uber and Lyft don’t exactly need to worry about all their drivers dipping out to deliver marijuana. At least not yet. As of December of last year, Uber reports having 148,000 active drivers. Those drivers, including the company’s delivery drivers, were paid out $2.97 billion by Uber.
If you want more stability, though, plus some nice benefits, maybe delivering bud instead of people could be right for you.