Safe and secure transportation is crucial in any field, and with cannabis, it’s particularly complex.
Many busy professionals rely on the specialized services of cannabis transportation companies like my own to ensure they meet safety, security, and compliance expectations.
While cannabis faces many of the same transportation challenges as other industries, it’s also subject to several unique struggles. Since launching Talaria Transportation in 2017, I’ve seen the evolution of these complexities first-hand. Here are some things I’ve learned and will take with me into 2024.
Strict, High-Stakes Compliance Measures Are Crucial
Operating a cannabis business comes with plenty of legal and compliance considerations. Add the complexities of transportation and you have an extensive list of rules and regulations to follow which can increase the room for error and potentially cost you your license.
These rules vary from state to state, too, making it especially important for companies to stay on top of compliance requirements.
Cannabis transportation leaves no room for careless mistakes. Most states require detailed records to be kept for years, a clearly indicated notification and receipt of shipment, and a transportation manifest that must be kept on products at all times.
Additionally, all products must be sealed, locked in secure storage, and physically tagged. Live plants must be in fully enclosed, windowless, locked trailers or similar locked and enclosed areas.
Drivers shouldn’t stop for a coffee or quick bite to eat, as routes are often required to be direct and free from unnecessary stops. Vehicles are subject to inspection at any time, and failing to keep up with each state’s specific expectations can cost a business their license.
Businesses Must Stay on Top of Unique Licensing and Permit Requirements
Legal cannabis transportation requires specific licenses and permits. These permits are doled out on a state-by-state basis and do not roll over into other states.
Drivers often need valid secure transporter licenses (or a cannabis-specific equivalent) and sometimes need chauffeur’s licenses, too. License requirements vary across different states, and some jurisdictions have stringent regulatory frameworks that require multiple licenses and permits.
Cannabis is still a nascent industry and these requirements tend to change over time. Companies must stay on top of these expectations to avoid serious penalties.
Enhanced Security Measures Are Non-Negotiable
Cannabis is a high-value commodity, making it susceptible to theft and other security risks during transportation. Without advanced security measures, transportation needs can put employees and businesses at risk.
Professional transportation companies must assess all potential risks and implement robust security measures to prevent these occurrences. Our services use advanced security measures including secure vehicles, tracing systems, and trained personnel to mitigate the risk of theft and ensure the safe and secure delivery of cannabis products.
It’s crucial that we stay on top of the news and conversations within our industry to prevent new theft and security risks as criminals find new ways to exploit security vulnerabilities.
Insurance Coverage Is Complex
Cannabis insurance is complex (and expensive), and with the added risks of transportation, there’s a lot to keep on top of. Reputable transportation companies often need to carry insurance that covers potential losses or damages during transit. These can include business auto insurance policies, as well as additional cargo coverage for protection against in-transport robberies.
Some insurance companies may decline coverage for businesses that transport cannabis because the plant is not federally legal, making coverage more difficult to obtain.
Cannabis transportation is a highly tracked and monitored business, so cyber insurance is another common policy among transporters. Some states also offer cannabis-specific insurance that covers property and liability concerns for cannabis companies.
Efficient Logistics and Specialized Services
Professional cannabis transportation companies move cannabis products all day, every day. Their teams are experts in handling cannabis products with special attention to temperature, humidity, and packaging. These companies understand the nuances and can provide specialized services to ensure the integrity of the products during transit.
Additionally, transportation companies are equipped with the infrastructure and expertise to optimize logistical processes. This includes route planning, timely deliveries, and efficient coordination, ultimately reducing the risk of delays and ensuring that products reach their destination promptly.
Unique Challenges for a Unique Industry
All transportation companies are aware of the challenges posed by insurance, permitting, and compliance. The cannabis industry takes these challenges a step further with state-by-state specific laws, various rules for different products, and the hurdles caused by the current legal status of the plant.
I’ve watched the cannabis industry mature over the years and have seen the different ways each legal state navigates the need for cannabis transportation.
I must constantly stay on top of the regulatory developments across dozens of states and ensure my team is up to date on these, too. It’s certainly a challenge, but serving the cannabis industry’s invisible infrastructure is exciting and rewarding and I learn new things each day.
About the Author: Ari Raptis is the CEO and founder of Talaria Transportation. Talaria Transportation offers transporation needs to the cannabis industry. This article was authored and edited according to AF editorial standards and style. Opinions expressed may not reflect that of AF.