It was the sort of only-in-California headline that was just plausible enough to be true: "Medical Marijuana Delivered by Flying Drones."
But flying drones aren't about to deliver anything — let alone marijuana.
"We are not delivering medical marijuana," confirmed QuiQui founder Joshua Ziering, who hopes his fleet of drones will one day be able to drop off prescription drugs. "I think [the International Business Times] just made it up."
Sensationalist headlines aside, Ziering's aspirations are serious — as are the hopes of many entrepreneurs who see drones as the technology behind a great new business model. Beer companies, florists, even major-league baseball teams — it seems no one can escape the appeal of flying robots.
But just because drones can bring you a six-pack or shoot some awesome spring training images doesn't mean they're allowed to do so.
Earlier this month, the Federal Aviation Administration briefly lost its ability to police the unmanned skies when a judge ruled it lacked the authority. But a day later, the agency appealed, and commercial drones are again grounded until the matter is settled.
That hasn't stopped companies who saw the temporary reprieve as an opening for their automated delivery plans — or at least a fun publicity stunt. Lakemaid Beer told National Journal it was resurrecting plans to work on a beer delivery system for ice fishermen. A Michigan florist, stung when its Valentine's Day delivery plan met the FAA's disapproval, wasted no time announcing it would resume testing.