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In Da Cut cannabis delivery service owner Drayten Howell (right) and Derrick Portis, director of fleet management, prepare to make a delivery to a customer in Santa Barbara on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. (Kenneth Song/News-Press)

While countless businesses have been forced to shutter their doors and close up shop due to the coronavirus pandemic, one new business will look to make a name for itself as cannabis sales surge throughout the state.

InDaCut, the county’s first delivery-only cannabis business, is set to officially launch on Monday. 

The company will serve all of Santa Barbara County and portions of San Luis Obispo, providing residents with access to legal and lab-tested cannabis products.

While it is certainly appropriate for the company to begin serving South Coast residents on 4/20 — a day synonymous with pot smoking — Founder and CEO Drayten Howell came up with the concept for the business in 2018 while taking summer classes at Santa Barbara City College.

“It was all an idea, I didn’t know what I was doing,” Mr. Howell told the News-Press. “I was just Googling stuff and trying to figure out how I could go about opening up a cannabis delivery service or dispensary.”

He then started looking into the county regulations and realized applications were being accepted. There was only one thing from holding him back from jumpstarting the project.

“I was 20 at the time, so I actually missed the chance to apply for the first round of state temporary license — which was Dec. 1, 2018. I missed that because my birthday is Dec. 5 and I wouldn’t turn 21 until four days later,” he explained.

Mr. Howell, who was a member of the SBCC basketball team, transferred to Holy Names University in the fall of 2018. During that time, Mr. Howell started strongly weighing his options on whether to try and start his own company. Things didn’t pan out at Holy Names and he found himself back on the South Coast. He then began to pursue InDaCut full time.

“I came back and found a property — it was already properly zoned and the rest is history,” he said.

The company’s headquarters is located on Constellation Road in Lompoc, where drivers will be dispatched. Due to the permit and regulations from the Bureau of Cannabis Control, no customers can purchase cannabis from the location because it is considered a non-storefront dispensary.

The permit allows the company to deliver to any address that is within BCC regulations, with deliveries expected to range between 20 and 65 minutes depending on the location. There is no delivery fee and the company is offering a price-match guarantee on all products (with the exclusion of buy one, get one sales). While the company is offering its services for a large area, customers simply can’t order from anywhere, Mr. Howell said.

“You can’t just call us and say, ‘Hey, I’m at East Beach right underneath the palm tree.’ We can’t go there and we can’t do that,” he said.

Orders can be placed online at indacutca.com, where they will be processed and assigned to a driver. In some cases, the driver may have the product on-hand and be able to deliver it sooner. Upon the launch, InDaCut will be delivering to the South Coast in time slots in order to ensure all orders are met. The company will be following regulations set on how much a recreational or medicinal customer can order at a given time.

Also, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the drivers are being advised to practice social distancing. All drivers will be wearing gloves and masks.

“We’re going to be fully compliant with that and take proper protocols as well,” he said.

The company received its county license back in October 2019 and received its state license last month. With dispensaries being considered essential businesses during the pandemic, the 22-year-old first-time business owner realizes how fortunate he is to finally turn his concepts into reality.

“It is actually kind of crazy,” he said.”I started this journey in a dorm room and now I’m in my facility working.”

It appears that InDaCut is launching at the right time. Last month, when Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the stay-at-home order for some 40 million Californians, data from the mobile app Weedmaps — which serves as the Yelp of cannabis — had its highest number of sales in its 12-year history. Sales were up some 204% from the week prior.

“There is a huge demand for it and sales have been going through the roof,” Mr. Howell said. “It goes to show that this product is more than just what meets the eye. It really is essential for people. It’s a lifestyle for people and it really is some people’s medicine and people really need that.

“Some people are closing their doors and others are opening. We just hope to come in and please everybody.”

InDaCut will operate from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 20. There is a $20 minimum on orders. For more information, visit www.indacutca.com.

email: mwhite@newspress.com

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