Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi explained Monday that the company could start delivering cannabis once federal regulations are in place.
While several states have legalized marijuana, including Virginia, New York and New Jersey, cannabis remains illegal under federal law.
During an interview with TechCheck, Khosrowshahi said: ‘When the road is clear for cannabis, when federal laws come into play, we’re absolutely going to take a look at it.’
A total of 17 states and the District of Columbia have fully legalized marijuana, with New Mexico being the latest state to do so. A legal cannabis industry could generate $318million and more than 11,000 jobs in the state.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi (right) explained Monday that the company could start delivering cannabis once federal regulations are in place
In New York, Gov Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on March 31 that legalized marijuana.
It’s estimated that New York could become the East Coast’s largest recreational marijuana market — generating a potential $2.3billion in annual sales by its fourth year.
Cuomo said annual tax revenues could eventually total $300million, though Republicans are skeptical. California was forced to cut $223million from state budget projections in 2019 due to slower-than-expected pot sales.
Cannabis products are allowed to be delivered in New York, California, Nevada and Oregon for people who are 21 and over.
The 17 States and DC that legalized recreational marijuana
5. District of Columbia
11. New Jersey
12. New Mexico
13. New York
And while there aren’t restrictions in those states, Uber says it’s going to focus on other categories like food and alcohol for now.
‘We see so much opportunity out there, and we’re going to focus on the opportunity at hand,’ Khosrowshahi said.
The company is currently offering sign-up bonuses and other incentives for drivers as it faces record demand for rides and meal delivery.
The San Francisco ride-hailing company said that total monthly bookings, including food delivery and passenger service, reached an all-time high in March.
In a government filing, the company said demand for ride-hailing, which plunged during coronavirus lockdowns last year, has recovered more quickly than expected as daily COVID-19 vaccinations exceed 3 million per day in the US.
Some people are still avoiding public transportation out of infection fears, potentially boosting demand for services like Uber and Lyft further.
Passenger bookings last month reached the highest level since last March, when spiking infection rates began to shut the country down.
Bookings last month hit an annual run rate of $30billion. Last year, Uber’s passenger business recorded $26.4 billion in gross bookings.
Food delivery, of course, has surged over the past year and in March Uber Eats deliveries hit an all-time high.
With more regions opening restaurants to at least partial capacity, that could be a positive sign for Uber as it could signal that some habits acquired during the pandemic may stick.
Food delivery jumped 150 per cent from last March to an annual run rate of $52billion, the company said.
Last week, Uber announced $250million in sign-up bonuses and other perks to lure more drivers. Many drivers gave up last year when demand dried up, the company said. But demand now exceeds the supply of Uber drivers on call, the company said.
In New York (pictured), Gov Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on March 31 that legalized marijuana. It’s estimated that New York could become the East Coast’s largest recreational marijuana market — generating a potential $2.3billion in annual sales by its fourth year
In another perk, Uber has partnered with Walgreens to make it easier for drivers to get vaccinated.
Drivers may still be holding out to see if Uber will sweeten pay and benefits. Uber was forced to classify its drivers in the United Kingdom as workers last month — not self-employed — after a Supreme Court ruling there.
The company said Monday it has begun a historical claims settlement for its U.K. drivers.
Uber’s shares rose nearly 5 per cent to $60.40 on Monday.