Today’s Pickup: Medical cannabis firm begins next-day deliveries as COVID-19 stokes demand

An Aleafia medical cannabis product bring prepared for shipment.

Good day,

Canadian medical cannabis producer Aleafia Health began next-day home deliveries to patients on April 7 as demand surges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People are feeling more stressed and using a lot more of our medicine,” Aleafia CEO Geoffrey Benic told FreightWaves. “We’re having a big spike in sales.” 

Demand for both medical and legal recreational cannabis products has surged during the pandemic. Distributors and final-mile providers have struggled to keep up with demand.

The final mile service importantly allows Aleafia’s core customers – adults 50 to 75 years old, many with underlying medical conditions – to minimize trips outside their homes and reduce exposure to COVID-19.

“A lot of folks hunkered down, and many are vulnerable,” Benic said.

Aleafia recruited a team of owner-operators to handle the deliveries with utility vans. Initially, the service will cover southern Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe region, which includes the Greater Toronto Area. 

The service also represents a fully integrated seed-to-customer supply chain. As a result, Aleafia says shipments are only touched once.

Tuesday marked a soft launch for the service. The company expects a full rollout next week.

Did you know:

Port Laredo regained its spot as the U.S. No.1 hub for international trade in February. 


“Across the board, products that aren’t considered essential aren’t shipping.” 

– Dave Cox, president of Polaris Transportation Group, on the decline of cross-border freight volumes between the U.S. and Canada

In other news:

Truckers could get up to $25,000 in COVID-19 hazard pay

Truck drivers would receive up to $25,000 as part of a “Hero’s Fund” for front-line workers under a proposal in the U.S. Senate. (CDL Life)

Students write thank-you letters to truck drivers

Seventh-graders at a school in Rankin County, Mississippi, penned letters to truck drivers as a token of gratitude for delivering essential freight. (WAPT TV)

Swedish logistics startup Instabox raises nearly $40 million

Instabox, a logistics startup based in Stockholm, closed on €36 million ($39 million) in funding to expand its network of smart parcel lockers in Europe. (EU Startups)

Asia’s largest wholesale produce market places limits on trucks

India’s Azadpur Mandi, the largest wholesale produce market in Asia, will allow only one truck per vendor to promote social distancing. (Economic Times

Final thoughts:

Aleafia also plans to offer deliveries of other essentials such as groceries and hand sanitizer for its elderly customers.

“We want to do everything we can to help out most vulnerable patients,” Alefia CEO Benic said.

Hammer down, everyone!