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DividerCashing In On Medical PO
Cashing in on Medical Marijuana
A small, publicly traded tech company hopes to benefit from Michigan’s medical Marijuana law, otherwise known as the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, by offering patients apps to find doctors to write them recommendations, digital identification cards and cashless transactions at marijuana distribution centers.
MediSwipe is relocating its headquarters to Birmingham from Florida this week and plans to open additional work space in Ann Arbor in May — and hire a dozen employees.
(Related: Medical Marijuana & the Patient’s Rights)
It is their hope to capitalize on the growing medical marijuana industry, which some estimates may be $2 billion nationally.
By next year, CEO Michael Friedman hopes to have thousands of customers who can turn to the company to help them navigate laws and paperwork in a similar way that financial services companies help customers file for their income tax refunds each year.
“We want to be known as the H&R Block — or the TurboTax service — of the industry,” said Friedman, who spent last week getting acquainted with the space set to become his new office in Birmingham.
(Related: How to Become a Registered Qualifying Patient)
MediSwipe seeks to offer patients a way to digitally store their medical records and other documents — such a Medical Marijuana Card — which may be required to get medicinal marijuana.
The company will bridge the communication gap between patient and doctors — and help patients make electronic payments at medical marijuana distribution centers.
MediSwipe would make money, Friedman said, by charging fees for the services — most about $20.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who opposes legalizing marijuana, including medical marijuana, urged MediSwipe to be careful.
(Related: How Much Medical Marihuana Can I Posses?)
“If they perform a legitimate service and operate within the confines of the law, there is nothing I can do to stop it,” he said.
Michigan isn’t the only state the company is operating in — and the national trend toward allowing marijuana for medical use is driving the company’s plans to expand, Friedman said.
Friedman said the company is moving to Michigan because of its medical marijuana laws and plans to focus on providing services to patients who use marijuana for medical purposes.
The four-year-old company also operates in California, Colorado, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
Still, some of what the company wants to do is incumbent on what the Michigan Legislature decides.
A bill introduced last week, for example, seeks to legalize medical marijuana distribution centers. The proposal would let individual communities decide whether to allow such centers — and where they can be located.
But a Michigan Supreme Court ruling was interpreted to ban public facilities that distribute medical marijuana.
“Our whole reason for being is to legitimize the industry — and track transactions,” Friedman said.
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