Eaze has been called the Uber of the cannabis industry. The San Francisco-based company has created a buzz with its user-friendly service that facilitates the delivery of medical marijuana. Using the EazeMD app, patients can place orders for all kinds of marijuana products and have them delivered to their door within 20 minutes.
In October, the company raised $13 million in funding due in part to the excitement surrounding Eaze's business model.
Eaze recently expanded its operations to San Jose. The company’s way was cleared after the city lifted its ban on cannabis delivery in October. Eaze said it worked with the San Jose City Council and law enforcement agencies to educate people on the medical marijuana business.
Following this news, Eaze CEO Jim Patterson spoke with Crain’s about the San Jose rollout and his company’s business model.
Q. Very exciting news about moving into San Jose following the reversal of the city’s ban on medical marijuana delivery. What role did Eaze play in the change in policy?
A. San Jose, like many other cities, experienced a learning curve when it came to marijuana regulations. Last year, city regulators put a temporary ban on delivery as they began to research and understand the best method to execute delivery.
As a technology company, Eaze was able to provide insight in a few areas. First we helped them understand how many residents relied on delivery through polling. From there, Eaze worked with the San Jose police department to help them understand how technology-enabled delivery is actually safer for communities compared to other forms of marijuana access. San Jose is a great example of a city leveraging technology to roll out delivery and marijuana regulation responsibly.
Q. Do many cities have similar bans in place—and how important is it to overcome such restrictions in major cities and other areas?
A. Some cities in California do have delivery bans, the largest of which is Los Angeles County. It’s important for cities to consider delivery regulations as they begin crafting marijuana laws as delivery is a great benefit to both keep the community safe and generate revenue for the community.
The majority of Americans actually favor legalization, but many would still rather not have a dispensary in their communities. Delivery is a perfect solution to mitigate this. In population-dense cities such as Los Angeles, delivery also helps take cars off the road and promotes faster, safer access.
The illicit market often thrives on black-market delivery services. Rolling out a regulated, technology-backed solution ultimately takes away from the inevitable illicit market.
Q. It seems like you’ve been able to raise major funding. How are you able to convince investors that your business is sustainable and not too risky?
A. Eaze is a technology company that doesn’t actually touch the plant, which is definitely a distinction and a fact that traditional VCs appreciate when looking to invest in this industry. As the cannabis stigma continues to dispel, we’ve seen more investors understand and realize the incredible business opportunity.
Q. You describe yourself as the fastest-growing marijuana technology company. Please elaborate on that—by what measure are you the fastest growing?
A. California is the largest cannabis market in the United States. Eaze is currently in nearly 100 cities across the state, with over 250,000 cannabis consumers on the platform.
We have the largest foothold in the largest market, and we’re less than three years old.
Q. It’s interesting that you call yourself a marijuana technology company, rather than—say—a marijuana delivery company. Why do you define yourself that way?
A. The way our business model works, Eaze doesn’t actually make the deliveries but provides the premium service experience.
Eaze is simply the technology layer on top of the system. We connect medical marijuana patients with their local dispensaries to get marijuana delivered by the dispensaries’ driver. The drivers also utilize Eaze technology with a driver app which enables smart routing.
Q. Is the recreational marijuana business in the cards for Eaze?
A. Definitely. Our mission is to provide safe access to those who need cannabis, whether they're using it for relief or enjoyment.
Q. What’s your source for marijuana? Where do you get it and how do you guarantee its quality and safety?
A. We work with our dispensaries to connect them with the highest standard product manufacturers in the industry. We only work with select entities in the industry that meet our standards for quality.
Our menus are curated to ensure cannabis consumers know they can come to the Eaze menu to find the best quality products.
You can follow Eaze on Twitter @Eaze_Team.