Weedora, an illegal weed delivery firm in Toronto, has been served a cease and desist letter from Foodora, the international legal food delivery service, which claims the cannabis company is breaching its copyright.
“They have been upset for two weeks. They have sent us cease and desist letters,” Weedora’s owner, who goes just by ‘Chris’ told VICE Money on Friday. Foodora did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The hoopla around a marijuana company allegedly infringing on the copyright of an established food delivery business can be seen as part of the growing pains faced by Canada’s weed industry as it moves from the black market into the mainstream.
The delivery service emerged in Toronto in October when apartment building residents started receiving bright purple flyers emblazoned with the words “WEEDORA” and a phone number to call for marijuana deliveries.
Weedora’s website was fully operational for about a week, until Friday when it mysteriously went offline.
On its now-defunct website, Weedora had offered 42 branded strains of weed consumers could purchase via text, delivered straight to their door. Customers could chat with a Weedora representative to decide between varieties like “Dirty Girl”, “Monkey Paw” or “Sonic Screwdriver.” Think of it as the traditional drug dealer — but with capital and rebranded for the digital age.
‘Chris’ the Weedora founder is a Toronto local, whose claim to fame in the city’s pot scene was creating a collective called the Marijuana Info Bureau, which used to organize cannabis scavenger hunts in the city’s High Park. The winner would receive $25,000 worth of marijuana, and weed paraphernalia, the businessman claims.
He says he has ownership stakes in “many” illegal marijuana dispensaries across Toronto, but believes the future of Canada’s marijuana industry is moving online.
Since its official inception this month, Weedora has picked up 1,500 new customers in addition to the 10,000 “members” Chris says had already been purchasing weed through his other delivery businesses.
Weedora, he claims, is a “movement” rather than a traditional business.
“It’s not so much about selling weed or anything,” ‘Chris’ told VICE Money over the phone. “I’m just trying to make people aware of how the government is monopolizing the industry.”
Ontario’s government announced last month that upon legalization next July, recreational weed will be sold through 150 stores run by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). For smokers who’d rather purchase weed online, the only legal option will be a website also run by the LCBO.
Chris says it’s likely that a small group of companies essentially owned by politicians and former police chiefs” will end up having exclusive rights to sell marijuana to the LCBO, shutting out dispensaries and delivery services.
Julian Fantino, Toronto’s former police chief and a former Conservative Member of Parliament, launched a new prescription marijuana business last month — in the legal medical marijuana sector. It is worth noting that Fantino’s Alefia Inc. is not involved in the recreational space.
Despite the illegal nature of his business, Chris isn’t worried about being shut down by the government as “almost every dispensary is turning into a delivery service” and he claims it’s unlikely authorities would devote significant resources to shutting them all down.
Private companies with brands to protect and plenty of civil lawyers, however, are likely to feel differently.
Chris, in fact, is already planning his next venture. It’s called Uber Tokes.