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In the cannabis industry, there is no such thing as a typical business and all companies are subject to the particular regulatory demands of legal marijuana.

“There are extra steps in the process for us. We understand they’re essential for maintaining the integrity of the industry and for ensuring public safety and minimizing risk but it can be pretty complex for what we’re doing on a day-to-day basis compared to traditional last-mile delivery,” Joel Dickerson, CEO of GPS One.

GPS One is a company developed from the software used to run logistics for Green Parcel Service (GPS Transportation), a cannabis courier service that specializes in last-mile delivery. This is the last stage of delivery, in which a parcel is moved from a transportation hub to its final destination. For GPS Transportation this final destination is typically a dispensary.

In 2015 the company was awarded the first cannabis transportation license in the state of Colorado and expanded operations into New Mexico in 2023. 

For compliance, GPS must meet state cannabis regulations on transportation, storage, recordkeeping, and delivery of cannabis. With guidance from the company’s partners at leading cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg, the company states that its goal is to be 100% compliant on all orders.

The company does not offer same-day pickup and delivery but all orders can be placed and completed within 24 hours. Every delivery must contain a transfer manifest built by the cannabis seed to sale tracking company METRC.

This is part of the problem. 

“Recordkeeping has been pretty complicated for us because every state has its own set of regulations which makes it difficult to maintain consistent, accurate records, all the time. In Colorado alone, the product manufacturer, the retailer, and the transporter must all keep a physical copy or digital copy of the manifest for up to three years,” Dickerson told Rootwurks. 

But while Colorado state law now allows the keeping of digital records, the recordkeeping demands have been a major burden for cannabis companies, according to GPS Transportation Founder and CEO Pat Duddy.

“Companies have literally had to use full rooms [for records storage]. What we did was rent a storage unit that is full of bankers’ boxes of manifests,” Duddy said, adding that just the storage costs alone for these records can be a tall order for many companies. And both Duddy and Dickerson noted that with paper records, even if you keep all of them, it can be highly difficult to find anything by rifling through box after box of paper records if you are asked to do so by regulators.

Not only that, but a copy of every manifest has to be given to the manufacturer, the recipient (typically a dispensary), and the transportation company. Considering that the average manifest is 4 to 5 pages, a single order can easily mean more than 20-30 pages of unnecessary paper waste.

“Cannabis as a whole has emerged as a new industry and governments are regulating it a lot more than your standard transportation companies so we have a lot more hoops to jump through,” Duddy said. 

PaperWaive 

Launched in January 2024, The company’s recordkeeping solution is called “PaperWaive”. According to GPS, the purpose of PaperWaive is to “seamlessly transition traditional paper processes into efficient digital workflows, thereby significantly reducing environmental impact and increasing operational efficiency.”

PaperWaive allows users to generate and manage digital shipping labels and waybills within the platform using all relevant data including recipient information and shipment details. The technology can create, edit, and share digital manifests that can be updated in real-time. It also keeps full digital records of driver logs, proof of delivery, customs documentation, vehicle inspection reports, and fuel receipts. 

“Users can access the platform from anywhere at any time which essentially streamlines the process and ensures data consistency. It also enables companies and regulatory agencies to locate manifests from years ago through a simple search function, creating more efficiency and visibility in that process,” Dickerson told Rootwurks. 

And in the event of a visit by cannabis regulators, PaperWaive “essentially creates a digital filing cabinet so you can search for the manifest number and find it instantaneously,” Dickerson said. 

GPS One 

But the logistics for cannabis B2B delivery go far beyond recordkeeping. 

To manage logistics the company uses GPS One, an in-house transportation management system that handles routing, logistics, orders, and fleet and vehicle management. Among other functions, it provides swift manifest creation for shipments, routing software for more efficient deliveries, and advanced data reporting. 

The company states that the goal of the software and GPS operations is to “revolutionize cannabis transportation by providing industry-leading logistics software that is tailored for the future demands of interstate commerce.”

GPS One was originally developed as a software solution to support GPS Transportation in day-to-day operations but the company later decided to split the company into a transportation arm (GPS Transportation) and a software arm (GPS One), according to Dickerson. 
 

The future of cannabis commerce

In the absence of federal cannabis legalization, interstate cannabis commerce is illegal. If changes are made to cannabis regulations on the federal level, companies like GPS could spread their operations nationwide - and access more sources of traditional investment.

“We’re trying to position ourselves from the software side of things to be well-positioned for interstate commerce,” Dickerson said, adding that as more states adopt their software solutions, the better situated the company will be for when interstate commerce goes into effect for cannabis.

And like for any cannabis business, regulatory changes would greatly ease operations. 

“From a time perspective, there are only so many deliveries you can do in a day because of the regulatory requirements for each delivery,” Dickerson said. 

Whichever form future cannabis regulation will take, security and training will always be of utmost importance for drivers. 

Joel and Pat described how drivers have a series of security protocols. These include contacting dispensaries and waiting until someone greets them at the establishment before exiting the vehicle. The drivers only park in areas where they are under cameras and the company works to avoid making any deliveries at night.

The company also has a policy of not sending drivers into the mountains for deliveries if there are more than 3 to 4 inches of snow.

All drivers use company-supplied transit vans for deliveries and are full employees of the company. The company operates a 5-day training program that covers a variety of subjects including standard of conduct and safety measures, followed by four days on the road with a trainer. 

“Investing in the training program for our personnel improves our compliance and safety, creates more efficiency, and keeps our customer satisfaction high,” Dickerson said. 

He added that driver safety is an important piece of the business and plays a key role in worker retention. 

“We try to prioritize driver safety as an important piece of our business. For us, I think providing a positive work culture is something that we put a lot of emphasis on as well. And all those things kind of factor into being able to retain your employees long-term.”

In cannabis, recordkeeping is of the utmost importance for safety and compliance adherence. Check out this on-demand Rootwurks webinar to hear cannabis compliance and food safety expert Matt Regusci of CSQ - Cannabis Safety and Quality describe why record keeping is so important in cannabis, and how companies can make it part of the daily culture of their workplace.

Watch Now

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Ben Hartman, Content Manager
Rootwurks

Ben Hartman is a cannabis writing and marketing professional with over 15 years of experience in journalism and digital content creation. Ben was formerly the senior writer and research and analysis lead for The Cannigma.

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