Pot Entrepreneurs Exploit Legal Loophole on Gifts

Deliver a cheap T-shirt, add a 'gift' of marijuana for customers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 1, 2018 1:05 PM CST
Companies Can't Sell Pot. So They 'Gift' It Instead
Marijuana from Duuber.com T-shirt delivery company rests on a sheet of paper, in Boston.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The single bottle of juice delivered to your door will set you back at least $55. But the bag of marijuana that comes with it? On the house. Retail marijuana stores are months away from opening in Massachusetts, but some companies have been quietly operating for more than a year, selling and delivering marijuana via a legal loophole, according to an AP investigation. It found companies like HighSpeed, which describes itself as a juice delivery service, are exploiting "gifting" provisions in Massachusetts and most other states where marijuana has been legalized. They generally allow the exchange of small amounts of the drug so long as it's gifted from one adult to another. In other words, passing a joint at a party or dropping a bud in your brother's Christmas stocking won't result in fines or jail time.

But some entrepreneurs see the provisions as an opportunity to get ahead of the regulated market. Gifting also allows cannabis capitalists to undercut licensed shops because they don't face the same oversight or pay marijuana sales taxes. At least four enterprises have done gifting business in Massachusetts since marijuana was legalized in December 2016, according to police records. In addition to HighSpeed—which sent the AP a bottle of juice and an eighth of an ounce of marijuana for $60 and says it's "not doing anything wrong"—a Boston-area company called Duuber has drivers delivering marijuana-themed T-shirts that come with gifts of pot, the AP confirmed. While some say legitimate pot shops will put an end to such operations, a detective says they continue in Colorado, years after pot shops opened there. (More marijuana stories.)

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