Capitol Hill’s outlaw bike-powered pot delivery service is shutting down

winterlifeAfter three improbable years, Capitol Hill’s marijuana delivery service is putting the brakes on its bike-powered co-op. Club Raccoons is still taking orders, but the co-op’s organizer says the operation will grind to a halt sometime this summer.

With an active Twitter presence and daily menu postings on Craigslist, the Raccoons made headlines in 2013 for openly advertising pot delivery that was as easy as ordering a pizza. It was also illegal, according to law enforcement officials.

Still, the Raccoons continued to make deliveries, filling a gap in the state’s recreational market that many medical marijuana advocates say is sorely needed. Raccoons declined to speak with CHS, but one member explained the co-op’s decision to close on Twitter.

“Our business has slowed to a trickle. Our allies are broke, our sister companies are going under, and we can’t pay our bills,” said @raccoonsclub. “We learned a lot. We learned just how impossible it is to climb up permanently out of poverty. We learned when to say I’m done.”

Raccoons were initially part of the now defunct Winterlife Co-op, which was later reborn into a recreational marijuana processor. In 2013, CHS sat down with a Raccoon’s dispatcher named Germ, who described how the operation worked out of an undisclosed Capitol Hill office:

Germ said the co-op runs similar to a taxi service: calls come in, the delivery person at the office with the least number of calls that day gets the order. Cyclists are paid per delivery, with a small amount going back into the co-op.

Cyclists only carry one order at a time and require customers to provide exact change so they don’t have to carry additional cash. In order to remove incentives for stealing, fights over territory, or altercations with customers, Germ said cyclists are paid no matter what happens during the transaction.

“Weed is not worth a physical altercation,” he said. Germ also said the co-op also has strict rules about not selling to minors or shipping marijuana through the mail.

Meanwhile, there are more important shifts in Washington’s marijuana economy. Friday, July 1st marked the first day of business under the new rules combining the recreational and medical marijuana industries in the state. Logistics and resources around the change got off to a shaky start.

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4 thoughts on “Capitol Hill’s outlaw bike-powered pot delivery service is shutting down

    • Indeed. I haven’t seen too many illicit stills, unlicensed speakeasies, or alcohol bootleggers for the past few decades either.

  1. It’s about time these pot delivery businesses were shut down. They have been operating illegally for several years, without any consequences.