A naval vet puts military logistics to work with the launch of a home delivery service in New York City



June 4, 2023 | 2:41 p.m

It still sticks to the Semper Fi logo.

Retired Marine Osbert Orduna operates the metro area’s first licensed home delivery cannabis service from a small base in Queens – pledging to faithfully deliver legal weed to your doorstep..

Ordona, 48, is also the first disabled vet to open a state-sanctioned marijuana sales venture with his newly opened business, The Cannabis Place.

“We are the first to open. More vets are coming,” he said.

The son of Colombian immigrants, he was among the first wave of Marines involved in the 2003 US invasion of Iraq that toppled dictator Sodam Hussein.

The Queens native oversaw a 90-man unit responsible for deactivating bombs and checking for biological and chemical weapons on the battlefield, and also oversaw convoy security responsible for protecting supply lines.

He is now putting that logistical knowledge to use in his fledgling pot delivery business.

“A lot of our suppliers were unarmed contractors who needed protection,” he said.

Osbert Orduna runs The Cannabis Place, the metro area’s first licensed home delivery cannabis service.
Stephen Yang

A post-visit to his “base” found a sophisticated setup with extensive monitoring and GPS technology built into the entire operation—not unlike those used by military, law enforcement, and delivery app services like Uber and Lyft. For safety reasons, there are no signs from outside that the herb delivery system has set up shop there.

Four of the seven workers he has hired so far are military vets.

“We have leveraged our skills in the military for the cannabis delivery operation. We have a robust communications and dispatch system on standby similar to what we used in Iraq. We have constant communication for safety during deliveries,” Ordona said.

From left: Adriana Ordona, Mobile Sponsor/Fulfillment Adriana Ordona, Mobile Talent Edward Bailey, Mobile Employer and Implementation Leader and Veterinarian Alison Migliore, Operations Zeke Santlices and CEO and Marine Vet Osbert Ordona.
Stephen Yang

“We can communicate directly at all times. Everything is under surveillance. We are leaving the base to make deliveries. It’s parallel to what we did in the military.”

All deliveries are tracked in real time using the company’s GPS system to direct drivers based on traffic. Customers receive a text message when a delivery is nearby. Payments are made online by customers – via ACH venmo – and there is no cash exchange. Customers will soon be able to pay directly with debit and credit card.

He said, “There is no circulation of money in this area.”

The Cannabis Place delivers to Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Long Island, and about half of Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Stephen Yang

The customer base for delivery is mostly middle-aged and older — with even an 81-year-old ordering food, according to tracking profiles.

“There are a lot of professional moms and dads and lawyers who want to manage stress and anxiety. Our goal is to make high-quality licensed cannabis available,” Ordona said.

Deliveries take place in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Long Island — with about half in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

By law, communities can refuse or choose not to approve pot stores in their neighborhoods. Nassau County has entirely chosen not to sell cannabis in storefronts, as most Suffolk County towns have.

But residents can order cannabis brought directly to their homes, providing huge business opportunities for delivery services. The Cannabis Place does not charge a delivery fee.

“Our goal is to provide access to high-quality, licensed cannabis,” he said.

Driver Edward Bailey, 68, who served in the military in the post-Vietnam War era, told The Post that customers appreciate the convenience of home delivery.

“They say, ‘Thank you, thank you,’” Billy said of the happy faces he sees as they arrive with their bags of cannabis goodies.

There is a minimum of $150 to purchase cannabis products for home delivery. Ordona said the average order is $300 although some people have ordered more than $1,000 worth of weed or other THC-containing products. Deliveries can be made same day or next day from noon to 8 pm, seven days a week

By state law, all cannabis products in New York must be lab tested.

There is a minimum of $150 to purchase cannabis products for home delivery.
Stephen Yang

Ordona relies on a network of 26 regular cannabis users he knows to sample all products—including weeds, vapors, foods, drinks, and ointments. The raters fill out a questionnaire and rate the products on a scale of 1 to 10.

Ordona, who grew up in Woodside homes, joined the Marines in 1994, seeing it as “an opportunity to get away from the neighborhood.” He said marijuana was a part of life in the projects and the growth of the neighborhood.

When he left the Marines 10 years later, vets noticed those who suffered from PTSD were being given addictive prescription opioids like oxycodone. He said he knew a few who committed suicide.

According to Ordona, a safe installed in one of the delivery vehicles is used for the products as there is no cash circulation in this area.
Stephen Yang

“It’s a chemical. It’s poison in a bottle. They came home and they were walking zombies. The opioids stole their lives,” he said, referring to his own experience with the drug after surgery. “You’re in the Twilight Zone. It’s not good for you.”

Ordona became interested in marijuana as a less addictive alternative for disabled vets around the time New York approved prescription cannabis use in 2014.

The legislature and former governor Andrew Cuomo legalized the sale of marijuana for adult recreational use in 2021, though its rollout has been slow and rocky while a massive illicit market for pot shops has taken off, drawing the ire of New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

Ordona was among the first wave of Marines participating in the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Stephen Yang

The marine vet visited 50 small or independently owned cannabis stores in five other states to learn more about the cannabis industry.

Ordona said he works closely with “concerned justice” in the cannabis industry who were convicted of marijuana-related offenses when possession was outlawed — and claims minorities were “collateral damage in the war on drugs.”

Veterinarians who are disabled by law are eligible for cannabis licenses. But Gov. Kathy Hochul and state regulators said those convicted of cannabis crimes were among the first to be granted licenses to right the wrongs of that war.

Although his preference for ex-veterans over vets sparked resentment, Odonna continued to move forward partnering with Khalid Ahmed, the general manager of the Cannabis Place venue, who was jailed for selling marijuana when it was outlawed.

Others with disabilities have licenses to operate retail cannabis dispensaries, Ordona said, but are looking for space to locate their stores, an ongoing problem that has slowed its rollout. There are only ten retail dispensaries operating across the state, including seven in New York City.

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