For patients who need a medical marijuana card, they have to book an appointment with a clinic and see a doctor to get that green card. New startup HelloMD wants to take that process and move it entirely online.
Launching four weeks ago and currently available only in California, HelloMD has plans to expand to 23 states where medical marijuana is legal, including Washington.
How does it work? Patients book an appointment online. They then have a video consultation with a doctor which takes up to 20 minutes. If the client has a condition that falls under those considered treatable by medical marijuana, the doctor writes the recommendation. Cards are then mailed the same day. It is all done via live video consultation via Telehealth. The whole process costs $95.
“One of the interesting facts about our service, is that we are serving patients outside of the typical ‘stoner’ demographic,” CEO and founder Mark Hadfield told us via email. “Many of our patients are elderly, or infirm, and interested in the alternative types of cannabis products, edibles, tinctures and the like…We believe we are servicing a new demographic of marijuana patient, and the Telehealth access capability has been instrumental in their reason to choose HelloMD.”
Of course, MMJ laws differ state by state. While California recognizes a video conference with a doctor as legit, Hadfield says that he is “hopeful that by demonstrating that HelloMD is servicing a legitimate need (access to doctors for cannabis patients), [that] other state medical boards will also revise their laws to put their Telehealth and Cannabis laws in a non-conflicting state.” Until then, HelloMD will operate under a “hybrid” system, an online consultation plus an in-person doctor visit in other states that do not recognize a video conference alone as sufficient.
So far, Hadfield says that HelloMD has “processed several hundred patients.” No date is set for a Washington launch, but Hadfield said it would be “later this year.” Of course, medical marijuana laws are set to change in Washington, so, as with everything legal cannabis, expect the unexpected. But this could be a useful service for those in need who find it difficult to leave their home.