Insured Home Deliveries of Medical Marijuana in Marin Begin Next Week

Monday, November 8, 2010
Cannabis As Medicine
The Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Fairfax will begin making pot deliveries to members of its collective next week now that insurance concerns have been resolved, organizers said.

"Finally!" said Lynnette Shaw, founding director of the only licensed medical marijuana dispensary in the county.

Fairfax's Planning Commission approved the service in mid-June. Shaw said that since then she has been working with the town attorney fine-tuning insurance coverage she is required to have before initiating the new service.

Shaw said the policy, which is being provided by Sacramento-based Statewide Insurance, indemnifies the town of Fairfax from any damages caused by the delivery service, as well as insuring the delivery people and their goods.

"The marijuana itself is insured in case of damage, or flood, or disaster, or theft or accident," Shaw said. "If the van rolls over and the pot gets messed up, that pot is insured."

Mike Aberle, director of Statewide's medical marijuana division, said, "We can insure every aspect of the cannabis and hemp industry, whether you're talking about a dispensary or delivery or a grower, or edible manufacturer, doctors, lawyers, you name it."

Despite the Planning Commission's approval, Fairfax Police Chief Chris Morin said he has some reservations.

"We have a public safety concern for the couriers themselves, the patients and potentially others when the marijuana is being transported,"

Morin said. "You don't know if someone is going to try to rob these people. Innocent bystanders could get involved."

Shaw said that to enhance safety, all deliveries will be made by a two-person team: a clean and sober driver and a qualified medical marijuana patient who is a member of the alliance.

"A member of my collective is being transported to hand the marijuana over to another member of my collective," Shaw said. "So we're in perfect compliance."

Due to the insurance policy, the couriers will never carry more than $2,000 worth of marijuana with them at any time.

Initially, Shaw said the delivery service will operate only from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays. But she plans to add more days as demand increases. She will deliver in Marin beyond the Fairfax town limits, even though her permit doesn't provide for that.

"The town of Fairfax doesn't have the power to authorize me," Shaw said. "It's up to the membership and myself what we do with this outside the town of Fairfax."

Shaw estimates that there are already 23 services delivering medical marijuana in Marin, none of which are licensed. She said she used that as part of her argument when she was seeking permission from the town.

"I told them I was getting killed," Shaw said.

Deliveries will be made only to Marin Alliance members. But if other medical marijuana patients have a state identification card or an ID provided by the Alameda County Public Health Department, they may order marijuana and join the alliance when the delivery is made, Shaw said.

"It takes two minutes to sign up," she said.

By Richard Halstead/Marin Independent Journal//www.marinij.com