Buying Cannabis in California. A UI / UX Case Study

In 2018, California became the largest state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana. Despite legalization, marijuana is still difficult to access online or otherwise.

The Situation

Locations of dispensaries near a set location in San Diego

Locations of dispensaries near a set location in San Diego

Since cannabis was legalized in California, there have been no significant increases in e-commerce platforms specializing in the substance. One issue that people quickly realize when shopping for cannabis is that locations tend to be spread out over large distances, and delivery times can take several hours. This is even true when planning a specified delivery time. This can be extremely frustrating when you want it delivered at a specified time. Most give up, jump in their car and head to the nearest dispensary. To compound the dilemma, there does not seem to be many applications out there that allow easy ordering over an app.

Part of the Issue


Case 1. Not available in my area

Cannabis delivery services are not available for most cities in California. Most are centered around either the Bay Area or Los Angeles. This is inconvenient for anyone hoping to have it delivered the same way that they would food.


Case 2. Non-Optimal Experiences

Currently, most delivery systems utilize the web. This creates an awkward experience for the user in situations they are forced to leave the app they are in, and re-log into a similar experience on the web. In the above scenario, the only way to track orders is to first order on the web by switching apps.


Case 3. No Native App or Delivery for My Area

As in this case, most apps are created for one specific geographic region. Some apps are created for more than one region but do not offer delivery in every region.


Case 4. Not the App I Wanted

There are many applications on the market relating to cannabis. All of them imply some sort of commerce functionality. When these apps are downloaded, often a commerce feature is non-existent.