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California is home to many of the biggest and most successful tech startups sprouting out of Silicon Valley. It’s also the first state to legalize weed for recreational use. So it comes as no surprise that these two industries have merged to create what some call the “Uber of Pot.”
The real name of the delivery startup is Eaze, and it’s leading the charge of marijuana-related startups in San Francisco. It’s also changing the way that people (at least in California) buy and get their weed.
Today we’re breaking down everything you need to know about Eaze, how it started, and what it means for the cannabis industry. Keep reading to learn more about this unique company and find out how to work and drive for them in your spare time.
- What is Eaze?
- The History of the Company
- Is Eaze Even Legal?
- Working as an Eaze Delivery Driver
- Eaze Delivery Driver Requirements
What is Eaze?
Though the focus is on weed delivery, Eaze is really a tech startup that connects marijuana users with marijuana distributors. This has most people thinking that their business is delivering weed, but that’s actually not what they do.
Can you log onto the Eaze app, order marijuana, and have it delivered to you? Yes. But Eaze doesn’t actually do the deliveries. They simply facilitate the connection between the consumer and the dispensary they want to buy their weed from. The dispensary is actually the “dealer” that gives the product to the driver, and then the driver drops it off.
Eaze makes their role in the distribution of marijuana very clear in their terms of service.
“THE COMPANY IS NOT A MEDICAL CANNABIS COLLECTIVE OR COOPERATIVE (“DISPENSARY”) AND DOES NOT ITSELF PROVIDE MEDICAL CANNABIS DELIVERY SERVICES TO MEDICAL CANNABIS PATIENTS. THE COMPANY DOES NOT PROVIDE OR SELL MEDICAL CANNABIS AND IS NOT A MEDICAL CANNABIS DELIVERY SERVICE PROVIDER. IT IS THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE THIRD PARTY DISPENSARY TO OFFER STATE LAW COMPLIANT SERVICES, WHICH MAY BE LOCATED, SCHEDULED, AND COORDINATED THROUGH USE OF THE APPLICATION OR SERVICE. EAZE OFFERS PRE-VERIFICATION OF USERS AND PROVIDES USERS’ INFORMATION TO DISPENSARIES, AND A METHOD TO CONTACT A DISPENSARY TO OBTAIN DELIVERY SERVICES FROM THE DISPENSARY. THE COMPANY DOES NOT AND DOES NOT INTEND TO PROVIDE DELIVERY SERVICES OR ACT IN ANY WAY AS A DELIVERY SERVICE PROVIDER, AND HAS NO RESPONSIBILITY OR LIABILITY FOR ANY DELIVERY SERVICES PROVIDED TO YOU BY THIRD PARTY DISPENSARIES.”
So what do they actually do? They provide a service much like GrubHub. GrubHub doesn’t own the food and often doesn’t even hire drivers, they’re just a tool that customers can use to place an order with a restaurant.
Eaze does the same thing, except instead of food, the product is weed.
The History of Eaze
Founded in 2014 by Keith McCarty, Eaze began its humble beginnings with four employees operating out of a San Francisco apartment. McCarty’s desire was to create the “Uber of Weed” – so it began as a medical marijuana delivery service.
Today, Eaze employs over 80 employees in more than 100 California cities, including San Diego and LA. With early success, McCarty stepped aside and passed the CEO title over to Jim Patterson, who now runs the business.
Eaze relies on venture capital to operate their business. According to CrunchBase, they raised $10 million in their Series A in 2015, $13 million in their Series B in 2016, and another $27 million in 2017. It is the #1 cannabis startup in terms of funding. In an article from Axios, CEO Jim Patterson said, “the company plans to use the additional funding to expand geographically and to help pay for expensive engineering talent.”
Recreational marijuana use is legal in the state of California (and a few other states as well). But before it was, Eaze offered EazeMD as a way to provide medical marijuana users with a convenient two-fold service. EazeMD did more than deliver weed to medical marijuana “patients.” It also helped users obtain their medical marijuana card through licensed doctors. It’s that card that allowed patients to use the delivery service legally.
But since the California requirements for weed delivery have eased up in recent years due to legalization, EazeMD is no more. The service that was once at the forefront of marijuana delivery is now antiquated, so it’s been replaced with the current (and better) version of Eaze.
Another interesting branch of the company is Eaze Insights. Eaze Insights conducts surveys of their customers in order to better understand the habits and mind of the modern marijuana user. In 2017, they conducted a survey of over 10,000 California weed users, which presented some interesting finds and facts.
Some of the findings of the 2017 survey are rather surprising. They’re certainly not what most people think when they think about stereotypical stoners and potheads. For starters, 91% of users are employed full time, and many live in the high-end bay area. They’re certainly not the guys and girls that sit around smoking weed and playing video games all day.
Of the 10,000 people who were surveyed, 57% are considered millennials. But 7% were baby boomers, which shows that people of all ages love their weed. 51% have a college degree, which is a significant stat, considering that only 39% of California residents have a college degree.
19% of survey respondents work in the tech industry. 9% work in the food and beverage industry. 9% are full-time students. 8% work in professional business services, and 8% work in the field of arts/entertainment and recreation.
When it comes to consumption, 58% report using cannabis products on a daily basis, though 69% say they use it for medical purposes.
Another interesting fact is that of the women surveyed, 78% say they also drink alcohol. Yet 86% of those say they drink less because of their cannabis consumption.
But perhaps the most interesting fact is how much the average customer spends on weed. In general, users report spending an average of $1,074 per year on cannabis.
Eaze Insights has the potential to shed a lot of light on the users and habits of marijuana consumers. The study even delves into marijuana wellness trends, the habits of women who smoke, and the habits of parents who use cannabis.
Is Eaze Legal?
As we said earlier, Eaze doesn’t deal in or deliver marijuana itself. Remember, it’s a technology company that provides a service. That service just happens to be connecting consumers with dispensaries that sell marijuana. In a court, it would be difficult to find Eaze guilty of breaking any sort of law. It’s this careful approach that keeps them going and keeps them growing.
According to federal U.S. law, marijuana and CBD products are Schedule 1 substances, in the same class as LSD and peyote. Eaze makes this very clear in their terms of service. That Schedule 1 classification means that it is illegal in the United States, regardless of what state law says.
But under medical circumstances, it is legal on the state level. And in some states, recreational marijuana use is now legal too.
So is marijuana legal? It’s a bit of a grey area, and California has been dealing with that issue for years. In recent years, several states have legalized recreational marijuana use. Those states include Alaska, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. On the east coast, it’s legal in Washington D.C., Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont.
Medical marijuana is legal in almost every state, and recreational usage is becoming legal in more and more states all the time. Most experts agree that the enforcement of federal marijuana laws is unlikely in states that have legalized it.
At the time of writing this article, we still can’t be sure if Eaze will expand into other states. But the more marijuana is legalized and accepted, it’s very likely that Eaze will become available in those states.
Working as an Eaze Delivery Driver
Does the idea of becoming a legal weed dealer sound like something you’d like to do? If so, you’re in luck, because Eaze is also looking for drivers to deliver the product. Technically, the drivers don’t work for Eaze. Much like the weed delivery service itself, Eaze only connects potential drivers to the dispensaries that need to employ them for demand delivery. Their terms of service make this quite clear.
Driving for Eaze is similar to driving for services like DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats. But there’s one big distinction that makes it very different. For most delivery services, drivers work as independent contractors. With Eaze, drivers are actually W-2 employees. And that makes a big difference when it comes time to pay your taxes.
Independent contractors have to pay their own taxes. They also have to pay for their own operating costs (which include things like gas, car maintenance, and vehicle repair). But as a W-2 employee driving for a dispensary that works with Eaze, you won’t have to worry about that.
The company will withhold taxes for you each pay, so you’ll be more likely to see a refund at the end of the year. Independent contractors, on the other hand, are responsible for making their own tax payments to the IRS.
Working for Eaze is a great way to earn some money, and drivers report earning a starting salary of $18/hour. In addition to a decent hourly wage, Eaze also reimburses drivers for mileage. As an independent contractor, you can deduct your mileage as a business expense at the end of the year, but you won’t get that money back dollar for dollar.
With a mileage reimbursement of $.545 per mile, you’ll see that money back in your pocket every time you get paid. For every 10 miles, you drive while working for Eaze, you’ll get $5.45 back. For every 100 miles you drive, you’ll see $54.50. Those amounts add up quickly, especially if you drive multiple shifts each week.
Eaze Driver Requirements
As with all rideshare and delivery apps, there are certain requirements you’ll need to meet in order to drive for Eaze. But unlike other delivery services, with Eaze, you’ll actually drive around with the product in your car. So while the requirements are pretty much the same, the application and hiring process is a bit more complicated.
The other main requirement is that you must consent to and be able to pass a background check. If you can’t pass a criminal background check, you can forget about driving for Eaze.
Eaze has become the biggest marijuana startup without ever having to handle, grow, supply, or deal with marijuana directly. They use their technology as a way to connect users with suppliers and drivers with local dispensaries. There’s no question about it – they have become the #1 middleman in the weed delivery process. And though it’s only available in California for now, we think it will expand as recreational marijuana use becomes legal in more and more states.
Is it legal? Yes and no. Federal law says no. California state law says yes. So for now, if you want to get your weed delivered straight to your door, you have to be in the state of California. The company has raised tens of millions of dollars from venture capitalists, so we’re hoping that we see them expand into more markets soon.
If driving and delivering weed for Eaze sounds like a job you’d love to have, you can make some serious cash doing it. You’ll drive around with a supply of weed in your car, deliver it to “patients” as they place orders, and be able to make at least $18 per hour. As long as you can meet the basic requirements and pass a background check, it’s a pretty cool gig.
Want to learn more about becoming a delivery driver for Eaze? Click here to learn everything you need to know about the application process, the hiring process, and the job itself.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.