How to Create and Maintain a Medical Marijuana Marketplace
7 January 2021
Recreational marijuana vs. medical marijuana
Let’s start by discussing the difference between recreational and medical marijuana. Recreational marijuana is what has led to the idea of cannabis being taboo. It contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the chemical responsible for creating a “high” when the marijuana is consumed. However, medical marijuana does not contain THC. It contains CBD (cannabidiol) instead, which is a natural compound that is found in the plant.
This makes it psychoactive in a way that does not produce a euphoric effect but rather it helps with medical conditions such as anxiety, depression, pain, inflammation, and seizures as well as many others. For medical marijuana to be sold legally, it must contain less than 0.3% of THC.
The fight to legalize medical marijuana has materialized in many countries. Countries like Chile, Australia, Canada, Israel, Colombia, Italy, Germany, Greece, Poland, the Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, and Uruguay allow prescription use of medical marijuana. Nearly 85% of Americans believe that marijuana had a legitimate place in the medical market and most research and statistics show that millions of people use medical marijuana worldwide because of its effectiveness in relieving their medical conditions.
Why create a marketplace for medical marijuana?
It is a growing market worldwide
The world has seen tremendous growth in the medical marijuana marketplace. According to an article published by Grand View Research (2020), “The global cannabis cultivation market size was valued at USD 123.9 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.3% from 2020 to 2027”. This makes it an excellent marketplace to invest in as success is very likely.
There is limited pharmaceutical availability
There are still tight restrictions on the prescription and advertising of medical marijuana. One is not allowed to make medical claims about medical marijuana because its legalization is recent. This makes research limited. This means that there is an opportunity to create a medical marijuana marketplace, particularly online since there are many patients in need who are left wondering where to find it.
People need more approachable consultations
There are claims that doctors are still reluctant to suggest medical marijuana in cases where patients have felt that it would be a suitable medical solution for them. This means that many people would support the idea of having online consultations with professionals who understand the uses and can prescribe medical marijuana.
Identify your target market when creating a marketplace for medical marijuana
Your target market would be to create a marketplace where patients can buy medical marijuana products from a variety of retailers and have access to MMJ (medical marijuana) physicians and dispensaries. Your profit would come from charging fees for transactions when customers order products from dispensaries registered on the platform and by charging fees for scheduling appointments with doctors and issuing medical IDs.
A medical marijuana marketplace focuses on three areas:
1. A patients’ section
This section of the platform normally includes a registration and sign-in page where the patient can enter their details to create an account and it would have features to screen the patient’s age, who should be 21 and over for recreational use and 18 and over for medical use. The next important function of this section is medical ID checking. A medical ID is a card issued by the state with a doctor’s recommendation to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. This is usually valid for 12 months.
You may include a function where patients can search for products, dispensaries or doctors. This is important for patients who do not have a medical ID card to help them to get in touch with licensed medical marijuana physicians.
Then, your medical marijuana platform needs to include a checkout section where all the patient’s items and totals are summed up. It should be linked to a payment gateway that accepts payments for medical marijuana products. The final section could include a reviews page since most people want to check reviews before using a platform or service these days and it is a great sales tool to use to gain the trust of your users.
2. It provides a platform for medical marijuana doctors and retailers
The first important function to include is a page where MMJ doctors and dispensaries can register their products and services. It should include an email and license verification tool. It is especially important for the checking of their licenses since the reputation of your platform depends on offering quality goods and services and due to the nature of the legalities of creating a medical marijuana marketplace, the doctors and dispensaries must adhere to state law.
Once the checking is done and verified, the platform should have a function where the MMJ doctor or dispensary can create their user profile to include their information such as services they offer, their licenses, contact and their working hours.
3. An admin section
This section of your platform should include a content management system where the admin can add and edit content such as images and blog posts and moderate reviews. Then, it should include a database where the information for all the users registered on the platform can be kept. It is also helpful when the admin wants to assist with issues such as resetting user passwords, etc.
It is important to include a finance and reports section to track the fees for services or transaction charges by your platform and to generate financial reports and other important reports such as website statistics. Most platforms include an alerts and notifications section.
You could include it to send automated messages to users about loyalty discounts and other important information.
An important function to include is a legal compliance dashboard that deals with tracking MMJ doctors and dispensaries expiring licenses as well as expiring medical IDs. This function will help prevent any run-ins with the law. Lastly, it is important to include a support function on your platform. This could be a built-on feature or outsourced to a third-party service with the required functions in place already.
When you create a medical marijuana marketplace, it is best to start with the minimum core functions that are needed such as ensuring that you can get your users in touch with licensed MMJ doctors and dispensaries, collect payments accurately and deliver the products or services. As your cbd business and profits grow, you can expand by including all the functions we’ve discussed in this article and more.
Grand View Research, 2020, Cannabis Cultivation Market Size & Growth Report, 2020-2027, Grand View Research, Inc., viewed 1 November 2020