Will E-Commerce and Online Sales Play a Role in the Medical Marijuana Industry?

Medical marijuana is currently illegal at the federal level. The areas of the U.S. where medical marijuana is legal are specific states that have passed legislation to legalize the substance, but it’s not allowed to be transported across state lines. There are currently 24 out of 50 states in the U.S. that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use. However, with marijuana remaining illegal federally, it’s difficult to stay whether e-commerce will play a role in the industry.

Marijuana cannot be sold online due to the federal restrictions and states where medical marijuana is legal are not allowed to sell the product online either. Verifying that a patient is licensed, of age, has been seen by a doctor and issued a medical marijuana recommendation could probably be possible over the internet, but it’s not currently allowed. Small businesses in the industry, such as dispensaries and green card issuers are hoping that this will change at some point in the future. There is incredible opportunity to make money the day that online sales are introduced. Selling medical marijuana online could be an immensely profitable business opportunity.

Businesses are finding workarounds to selling marijuana online

There are some things that small businesses are doing to essentially “work around” the constraints and limitations currently in place. One business has created a monthly subscription that includes several grams of marijuana for the user, but the medical marijuana must be picked up locally at a dispensary. To make the subscription more appealing, each month the subscriber will get a marijuana piece such as a bong, pipe or other smoking accessory. These are currently legal to buy online and are an excellent packaged item to include. However, marijuana users say the included accessories are somewhat unnecessary, as most users don’t need a new piece every month. These are the types of issues that businesses are facing with this type of offer, as there isn’t much else other than marijuana itself to be packaged into the monthly subscription. Providing value in the subscription offer and giving users a reason to purchase it is a struggle for businesses that want to move into online sales.

Medical marijuana still isn’t “prescribed”

You might have heard someone say they had to see a doctor to get medical marijuana. While this is completely true, medical marijuana is not prescribed like other medications are. Instead, the user has to see a doctor that specializes in medical marijuana. Upon scheduling their appointment, the patient will be evaluated and possibly given a medical marijuana recommendation, but only if they have qualifying conditions. This gives the patient the ability to purchase medical marijuana from marijuana dispensaries, which are located all throughout the state in states where medical marijuana is legal. This means marijuana isn’t dispensed like other medications and it adds further complication in getting it legalized for online sales. Only licensed medical marijuana users that have been issued a green card are allowed to purchase marijuana and dispensaries are very careful about who they allow into their shops and who they sell to. Enforcing these same policies in the online landscape would be much more difficult.

Dylan works for Green Wellness, a business in Washington State that schedules appointments and evaluations for medical marijuana. Patients can be seen by doctors that are state approved to issue green cards. Dylan is also an associate for Green Health, a similar business that will be launching in Florida shortly.

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