Bitcoin payments and drone deliveries: Cali company teases pot possibilities

Bitcoin payments and drone deliveries: Cali company teases pot possibilities
If a California start-up gets its way, customers will be able to buy marijuana via Bitcoin and have it delivered by drone. However, drone deliveries are yet to be approved by federal regulators – a process even Amazon has not been able to overcome so far.

A video posted on YouTube by the San Francisco-based Trees Delivery, shows a drone delivering a package of marijuana to a customer. Just log in with your laptop or smartphone, pay with Bitcoin, and have a flying robot deliver your weed the very same day.

At present, the high-flying concept is still just a pipe dream. To actually operate delivery drones, Trees needs approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – something Amazon can testify is not an easy feat.

After apologizing for dragging its feet on Amazon’s drone application, the FAA sent a letter to the retail giant this spring listing the conditions under which it might be allowed to test its delivery drones.

The vehicles cannot exceed speeds of 100 mph, (160kph), fly above 400 feet (122 meters), or weigh more than 55 pounds (25 kilograms), including the payload. Perhaps the most troublesome requirement of all is that the drones are not allowed to leave the operator’s line of sight.

“We're not sure when we'll be launching yet," a Trees spokesperson told the International Business Times. "We are based in San Francisco and the legal situation here is not clear yet."

Trees advertises itself as “your personal cannabis concierge,” and offers three marijuana kits with accessories, ranging from $99 for the “Beginner Box” to $149 for a “Bud Box” or an “Extract Box.” As California has not yet legalized recreational use of marijuana, only customers with a valid medical marijuana license are allowed to place orders.

Marijuana remains a controlled substance banned by federal laws. However, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia have decriminalized personal possession of cannabis, while Colorado and Washington have gone even further and legalized retail sales, reporting substantial tax revenues as a result.

Until the legal and technical issues are resolved, Trees’ drone delivery concept will remain up in smoke.