Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Buying Weed On Amazon? Don’t Hold Your Breath

If you’re done visiting retailers and are hoping to use online sources to fill the void, you might be better off learning to grow your own.

One of the biggest stories to hit last week was news of Amazon’s newly adopted drug policy stating that it would no longer test employees for marijuana. Every media outlet known to man had something to say about it. But the basic message contained in them all was that the company’s willingness to support legalization and eliminate pot testing might be a sign of higher times. Perhaps the nation was making real progress on this issue and would soon be prohibition free. 

One cannabis news outlet even posted an article branded with a headline that was borderline click-bait, predicting that weed sales through the online retailer was on the horizon. The publication came right out and said, “Yes, Amazon will sell weed,” seemingly trying to pull one over on the readers by giving them hope that they might soon have the luxury of ordering bud in the same way they do with things from books to protein powder. The only caveat to the future of Amazon’s speculative marijuana marketplace, according to the article? Well, let’s just say it’s a big one.

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Cannabis advocates believe all that is standing in the way of Amazon becoming one of the largest pot dealers in the country is federal marijuana prohibition. That once weed is removed from the Controlled Substances Act, of course Amazon is going to get in on the mix just like everyone else. Why in the heck wouldn’t they? After all, alcohol is legal, and the company recently nabbed a piece of that action. It makes sense that the next logical move would be cannabis. Right?

Although it is conceivable that Bezos and crew will attempt to capitalize on marijuana to some degree once it is legal nationwide, Amazon’s weed distribution center is not going to flourish right away. The company is sure to encounter a slew of challenges if it decides to move on pot products.  

Even if changes come to federal law, some states will opt to maintain pot prohibition. Furthermore, the company’s entry into alcohol — a totally legal substance — is far from being anything to write home about. Search the site to buy “alcohol,” “beer,” “wine,” “spirits,” and you’ll inevitably end up running to your neighborhood liquor store instead. The selection is limited, and it’s primarily full of non-alcoholic choices and brew supplies. Amazon might sell booze, but just barely.

RELATED: Amazon Bans CBD Sales, But Here’s How You Can Buy It On The Platform

Furthermore, despite the legality of booze at the federal level, some states still don’t allow alcohol to be delivered. Right now, Alabama, Utah, Kentucky, and Mississippi do not permit alcohol delivery of any kind. As for the states that do, the regulations are different for each, making it next to impossible for an international company like Amazon to comply easily enough across the board to supply booze for all.

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Right now, only 12 cities (not states, cities) enjoy the convenience of Amazon’s alcohol sales. That’s just a drop in the bucket for a substance that has been legally accessible in this country for decades. Rest assured, Amazon will expand as local and state laws allow. But the company has a long way to go before mom-and-pop liquor stores have anything to worry about.  

A fully legal national pot market is destined to turn up these regulatory snags and probably even more. 

 RELATED: Is This The Real Reason Amazon Is Supporting Marijuana Legalization?

Standing in the way of Amazon’s potential weed business is Congress. Regardless of the unbridled optimism of most cannabis advocates, federal lawmakers are still a long way from legalizing marijuana nationwide. Although Senate Democrats are planning to push a comprehensive marijuana legalization bill later this year, the wonky dynamic in the upper chamber — the filibuster, Mitch McConnell, pot-hating Democrats — could and probably will prevent legal weed from going the distance.

RELATED: Uber Wants To Explore Marijuana Delivery Once It’s Federally Legal

In fact, even with marijuana reform having more support than ever on Capitol Hill, there’s a good chance that federal legalization will not take shape for several more years. There just isn’t enough bipartisan consensus in the nation’s capital to further this issue all the way. Not even President Biden agrees with the Senate’s legalization plan.

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Photo by Jose Luque / EyeEm/Getty Images

Don’t expect to buy legal weed from Amazon anytime soon. If that development does eventually come to pass, much like its alcohol business, it’s going to take time to mature beyond a limited reach. There’s no doubt about it, cannabis dispensaries will continue to be the go-to legal source for marijuana for many years to come. But if you’re done visiting retailers and are hoping to use online sources to fill the void, you might be better off learning to grow your own.

Amazon might not sell weed or seeds, but it does have a variety of books on cannabis cultivation. We guess they have to start somewhere.


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