Spokane Journal of Business

Spokane considered as market for cannabis distribution

Düber envisions opening 15 facilities in five states

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Seattle-based düber Technologies Inc. says it recently reached a $50 million funding agreement with California-based Valcone Real Estate for the acquisition or master lease and outfitting of 15 cannabis distribution centers in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona.

Glenn Ballman, CEO of düber Technologies Inc., says Spokane is among 35 cities the company has identified as potential distribution center locations. 

“We’re currently working with local regulators and distributors to find the best spaces that work well for everyone,” he says. “We’d like to have the distribution centers set up in Washington sometime in the next two to five months.”

Ballman says the agreement with Valcone Real Estate will enable the company to expand its operations to include about 400,000 square feet of distribution space.

He says the distribution centers would be similar to those used by food and agricultural distributors, with cannabis coming in from producers being shipped to processors, and completed product coming in from processors being distributed to retailers.

“Proper distribution centers are necessary for the continued maturation of this industry,” he says. “Distribution centers help retailers save time and costs, and they also enable industry regulators to more easily track sales and distribution according to each state’s laws.”

Ballman says the process of selecting a distribution center location can take up to nine months, after which the facility must be outfitted with proper security and permitting before it can be connected to the software hub. 

He says distribution center locations will be chosen according to areas of either significant supply or demand, and will range in size from 10,000 to 50,000 square feet.

Ballman says he estimates that larger distribution centers would need between 70 and 100 employees to operate, whereas smaller distribution centers may only need 15. 

“Each location’s size will depend on its proximity to supply and demand,” Ballman says. “In this case, demand is driven more by consumption, whereas supply is driven more by density of licenses or strategic location.”

According to Ballman, Spokane is more supply oriented, with Eastern Washington being a major cannabis supply area.

“Washington doesn’t yet have the option of home delivery for cannabis products, but we’re hopeful that service will also be available in the near future,” he says. 

Ballman says the company, which is a software-as-a-service provider focusing on the cannabis industry, has been researching how to expand its platform to serve its clients’ distribution needs better.

“Our software allows for communication and data about products to be more easily passed between consumers, retailers, processors, and producers,” he says. “Each state has different laws and licenses, so it’s possible for clients to have only select, stand-alone components of the system.”

Ballman says düber’s platform currently provides customers with online ordering, self-serve systems, global product search capabilities, digital signage and advertising.

In Washington, he says, düber’s software is in use by 30 active retailers, and up to 30,000 consumers who use it to order product online and arrange for in-store pickup.

“Right now, the cannabis industry doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to allow for efficient delivery, so our goal is to build that using the most modern technology available,” he says. 

“The current process is inefficient and outdated, with most retailers and producer/processors doing their own distribution. But if we can introduce distribution centers to the supply chain, we hope to see a reduction in transportation costs and carbon emissions, and increase safety and efficiency for everyone.”

Ballman says in developing the distribution centers, düber Technologies hopes to set an example for others in the industry. 

“This industry is maturing rapidly, and now is the perfect time to begin adopting best practices,” he says. “That includes developing technology and methods of distribution that allow for a smaller environmental footprint.”

LeAnn Bjerken
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Reporter LeAnn Bjerken covers health care at the Journal of Business. A Minnesota native and cat lover, she enjoys beachside vacations and writing poetry. LeAnn has worked for the Journal since 2015.

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