Caliva Lures Gig Workers from Uber, Lyft, DoorDash to Cannabis Industry

By Michael Teich

The on-demand cannabis industry is seducing Uber drivers with the promise of better benefits and career growth.

Caliva, a Silicon Valley-based marijuana company, is waging an extensive recruitment campaign to hire drivers from popular ride-hailing and delivery companies, including Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash.

"What we've found is that a lot of the drivers who normally drive for Uber, Lyft, or DoorDash are really looking to have not just a full-time or part-time job with benefits, but they're looking to be part of something," said Caliva CEO Dennis O'Malley in an interview on Cheddar Monday.

Caliva offers its drivers full pay, benefits, and 401K plans. O'Malley told Cheddar that California regulations require that cannabis delivery drivers are full-time employees of a licensed cannabis entity, which in turn gives gig economy workers a more stable income. Uber, on the other hand, has frequently been the subject of criticism for its driver policies. As independent contractors, drivers typically have not been granted access to the benefits received by the company's full-time employees.

Caliva's company has grown to just over 400 people, and about a quarter of those are drivers, according to O'Malley. The company is ramping up its delivery efforts to meet the demands of consumers ordering marijuana to their own homes.

"One of our largest initiatives is being able to continue expanding out direct-to-consumer business and we do that in partnership with Eaze.com," O'Malley said.

Marijuana delivery platform Eaze, the co-called Uber of Pot, is reportedly in the process of closing a $65 million Series B round at a pre-money valuation of around $250 million, according to Axios. That kind of financial backing could be a key factor in Eaze's ー and Caliva's ー ability to become a major force in the competitive on-demand economy.

For full interview click here.

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