Cannabis Transportation Companies (Transport Weed Legally)
Looking For Cannabis Logistics Services?
Are you a part of the growing cannabis industry as a cultivator or manufacturer? Chances are you’ve done some research on cannabis transportation companies and how to efficiently transport weed legally. New England’s cannabis business is booming. In Massachusetts alone, adult-use dispensaries have generated more than three billion in gross sales across over 200 retail establishments.
This means the amount of cannabis and cannabis products that are being transported from point A suppliers to point B retailers is profound. As fast as the cannabis industry is growing, some kinks in the supply chain process still exist. Primarily, a lot of cultivators and manufacturers run into woes when it comes to transporting products to retailers. Read on to learn more about hiring cannabis transportation services in 2023 as well as challenges and advice, or reach out to us to schedule a consultation.
A Closer Look at Wholesale Cannabis Transport
Wholesale cannabis transport is an area of cannabis logistics that focuses purely on the transport of wholesale cannabis or cannabis products. Basically, cannabis and cannabis bought at wholesale cost from either a cultivator or processor/manufacturer is transported in secure vehicles to:
- A storage facility
- A wholesale warehouse distribution center
- A processor/manufacturer from a cannabis cultivator
In most states, you have to have a specific license to transport bulk cannabis and cannabis products. Further, learning how to transport weed safely and efficiently is not as simple as it sounds. Therefore, a good deal of cannabis business owners partners with a wholesale cannabis transporter to simplify moving bulk products for their business.
In This Post:
Product transportation is a major undertaking in the cannabis industry unless you have the right support from a cannabis transport company. Products have to be tracked from the time they leave the cultivator. Likewise, manufactured products have to be tracked once they leave the facility. Cannabis product transportation companies like Plymouth Armor Group bring secure vehicles, METRC-compliant practices, and industry experience to the table to ensure cannabis inventory is transported from point A to B quickly and securely.
Financials in the cannabis industry can be more complicated than in any other industry. Therefore, more cash payments are common for retailers, and this can easily lead to having a lot of cash in-store to transport to financial institutions. Cash transport offered by cannabis transport companies ensures large volumes of money make it to and from destinations absolutely securely. Cash from your cannabis dispensary can be picked up in an armored vehicle and discreetly transported to a bank or other destination. Depending on the service provider, additional services may be available, such as handling change orders and ATM servicing.
Warehousing and Storage
Maintaining cannabis inventory sometimes means keeping ready stock available off-site. Likewise, there may be times when intermittent storage needs arise as cannabis products are in transition from one point to the next. To support cannabis business owners with these needs, one element of cannabis transportation services can include cannabis warehousing and storage. At Plymouth, we work with a network of clients who need storage, so we offer compliant storage space for raw or finished cannabis products. And, we provide pick-and-pack warehousing services so clients can restock as needed.
The logistics behind inventory management and METRC can get pretty complicated. However, the best cannabis transport companies offer some level of logistics services to help clients navigate the complexities of managing product inventory. For example, at Plymouth Armor Group, we partner with Apex Trading, Flourish, and other METRC tracking systems to simplify shipping processes through a software-supported tracking and delivery system.
Cannabis is a unique industry. It is highly regulated, the product is especially valuable, and federal laws are yet to be adjusted to coincide with state-based laws. This combination makes transporting products far more challenging than it would be with other consumer products.
A single vehicle can cost almost $225,000 within the first year. On-going maintenance, labor, volatile fuel prices, all add up over time. Working with a Third-Party Transporter, like Plymouth Armor Group, can eliminate your worries of hitting the road in New England snow storms and allow your team to focus on cultivating/manufacturing top quality products.
Typical Courier Services Are a No-Go
Traditional couriers, such as FedEx, USPS, or UPS, are simply out of the question when it comes to cannabis transport due to federal ties. Likewise, contracting privately owned couriers, such as localized freight carriers, isn’t possible. In order to carry cannabis, transporters have to obtain a license in the state.
Security Is a Concern with High-Value Merchandise
Cannabis is valuable merchandise. A cargo van filled with cannabis could easily be carrying thousands of dollars worth of merchandise. Therefore, transport vehicles have to be well-secured, and inconspicuous, and the drivers need to be well-trained.
Maintaining Compliance Can be Tough
Each state, and sometimes localities within that state, have its own regulations about cannabis transport. Staying compliant is a challenging feat. For example, some states require a thorough tracking system (METRC, Biotrack, etc.) for every cannabis product that goes on a vehicle for delivery.
How to Get a Marijuana Transportation License
Obtaining a license to transport cannabis in the state of MA and other parts of New England is a multi-step process that can take a lot of time to achieve. A marijuana transporter is defined by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission as:
“An entity licensed by the Cannabis Control Commission that is permitted to possess marijuana products solely for the purpose of transporting, temporarily storing, selling, and distributing them to Marijuana Establishments (MEs) or Marijuana Treatment Centers (MTCs), but not to consumers.”
The types of licenses you have to obtain can vary depending on location and personal circumstances. For example, MA offers a license for third-party transporters who do not have an existing license or a license to existing license-holders looking to transport cannabis.
In order to obtain a license in MA, interested applicants must:
- File an Application of Intent (AOI) with the state
- Undergo a background check
- Offer a management and operations profile
Each step in this process can require several objectives that must be met. For example, when you file your AOI, you have to supply proof of a bond or escrow substantial enough to cover licensure, paying taxes, and destroying damaged cannabis inventory.
How much is a cannabis transport license?
The license application fee for third-party transporters is $1500 with $5000 required for the license. Existing licensees are still expected to pay $1000 for the application fee and $5000 for the actual license once approved.
Each state can have its own compliance regulations that will affect what types of vehicles can be used for transporting cannabis. For instance, some states require all transport vehicles to have an onboard GPS tracking system. Likewise, some states require only unmarked vehicles to be used for cannabis transport.
The safest way to transport weed is in a vehicle that is specifically designed for the purpose. You will come across some wholesale transporters that have a fleet of vans or vehicles that have been converted to accommodate cannabis transport, however. The most important security features of cannabis transport vehicles include:
- Discreet appearance to deter public interest and remain obscure
- Interior and exterior camera systems to monitor the vehicle and its surroundings
- Onboard theft deterrents like security alarms and reinforced door hinges
- High-tech security features like remote engine control or starter disrupters
- Ballistic-grade glass that can withstand a blow
- Armored exterior
Humidity and climate control systems inside a transport vehicle are a must to protect temperature and moisture-sensitive products. Cured cannabis flower can be highly sensitive to both moisture and humidity. The flower is a natural plant, which means it can degrade in a short time with exposure to heat, cold, or high or low humidity levels. For reference, the ideal temperature for cannabis flower is between 64 to 70° F (18 and 21 °C), and the relative humidity should be at 50 to 55 percent.
Likewise, some cannabis products must be held at certain temperatures to maintain their quality. For example, gummy or chocolate edibles can melt at high temperatures, serving sizes and doses can be compromised, and the infused cannabinoids can deteriorate.
What to Look for in Cannabis Transport Services
When looking to transport cannabis, it is critically important that you partner with a company you can trust. Having an unreliable transporter can easily lead to disruptions in your business. For example, as a processor, unreliable cannabis transport could cause problems with having access to raw materials to manufacture cannabis products.
Certain features are important to evaluate as you examine a cannabis transport service, such as:
- The reliability, adequacy, and security of the cannabis transport vehicles
- The transporter’s logistics experience and background
- Whether the transporter is properly licensed and insured
- How the transporter charges for their services
- How well the company is committed to regulatory compliance
Lastly, always pay attention to the level of customer service you get with initial points of contact. You will want a cannabis transport company that has exceptional customer service, rapid response times, and in-depth knowledge of cannabis logistics.
Without question, if you are in the cannabis business and need transport options, working with a third-party transporter is the simplest option. Working with independent marijuana transport companies means you have access to a fleet of vehicles and drivers that are licensed, equipped, and qualified to carry cannabis to retailers.
For example, Plymouth Armor Group specializes in cannabis cash and product transportation. As a leading transporter of marijuana in New England, we hold all the credentials suppliers need to ensure safe and compliant delivery to retailers, such as:
- Holding the proper licenses and insurance
- Being committed to state and local compliance
- Offering an armored fleet of transport vehicles with armed guards when needed
- Having logistics experience
- Offering METRC-compliant tracking for manifests
Around 85 percent of the cannabis market in the state of MA has partnered with Plymouth to handle transport for these exact reasons.
Need Cannabis Transportation Services? Plymouth Armor Group Can Help. Reach out.
At Plymouth Armor Group, we understand the challenges of cannabis logistics. We make it our priority to eliminate those challenges and keep the business moving. Need to discuss cannabis transport as a supplier? Get in touch with our team to get started.