A US Marine Corps veteran is leveraging military tactics to help him run New York City's first legal cannabis delivery service.
Osbert Orduna, a 48-year-old former Marine who served in the Iraq War, opened The Cannabis Place in partnership with Louis Chaloff, who had formerly been arrested for selling weed back when it was illegal. The company's seven employees, four of whom are also US military veterans, are now delivering weed to Manhattan and Long Island. And although the company is on the small side, Orduna and his fellow vets are using skills they learned in the military to ensure that their products are safely stored and delivered.
“We leveraged our skill sets in the military for the cannabis delivery operation,” Orduna told the New York Post. “We have a robust readiness communication and dispatch system similar to what we used in Iraq. We have constant communication for safety during deliveries. We can communicate live at all times. Everything is under surveillance. We’re leaving the base to make deliveries. It’s a parallel to what we did in the military.”
New York regulators approved cannabis delivery services last December in a bid to speed up the state's glacial adult-use retail rollout. The Empire State legalized weed back in 2021, but thanks to endless delays and legal battles, only 13 legal dispensaries have managed to open for business so far. To speed the process along, the state agreed to allow businesses to start delivering weed before they open an official storefront. Orduna is the first person to open a delivery service in the NYC area and also the first disabled veteran to open a cannabis sales business in the entire state.
New Yorkers who want to order some dank bud to their door will need to prove that they are 21 or older, and there's a minimum $150 purchase for delivery. That high minimum doesn't seem to be discouraging business, though. The average delivery order usually lands around $300, and some people have even dropped a grand or more on a single order. Orduna said that his customers are mainly middle-aged and older adults, and even include an 81-year-old who recently ordered some THC edibles.
“There’s a lot of moms and dads, professionals, and attorneys wanting to manage stress and anxiety,” said Orduna to the New York Post. “Our purpose is to make high-quality licensed cannabis accessible.”
Orduna is increasing that accessibility by delivering to a customer base that would otherwise be unable to access legal weed easily. In addition to making deliveries to Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, the veteran-owned business also delivers to Long Island. Most Long Island counties have completely banned cannabis stores in their jurisdictions, but the state still allows weed to be delivered to these opt-out deserts. At present, The Cannabis Place is the only service that can legally deliver to these areas.
Edward Bailey, a 68-year-old Army veteran who drives for the company, said that customers really appreciate not having to travel all the way into the city to buy weed. “They say, `Thank you, thank you,” he told the Post. “They don’t have to go out and get it.”