Marijuana delivery apps now bring the doctors to you — virtually and literally

This is simply brilliant. Bravo!!

California lawmakers weigh rules for medicinal pot shops

FILE – In this May 14, 2013 file photo, medical marijuana prescription vials are filled at a medical marijuana dispensary in Venice, Calif. On Saturday, May 2, 2015, The Los Angeles Times reported that the California legislature is considering multiple _ and conflicting _ plans to impose the first major statewide restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries and growers. California was the first state in 1996 to legalize the sale of marijuana for medical use. More than 1,000 dispensaries operate in the state. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

You no longer have to leave your couch to get a medical marijuana card in California.

Eaze, the marijuana-delivery startup backed by Snoop Dogg, this week launched EazeMD, an on-demand telemedicine service that allows California residents to obtain or renew medical marijuana recommendations virtually in as little as 15 minutes.

“The current model seemed broken. It’s unnatural and inconvenient,” Eaze founder and CEO Keith McCarty said.

Traditionally, medical marijuana patients in California, which voted to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, have had to seek out a doctor who writes medical marijuana recommendations and visit that doctor in person, much like you would any other doctor. Insurance doesn’t cover the visits, which typically cost $100 or more.

EazeMD cuts the cost of an appointment to $25 and allows users to request medical evaluations online. Evaluations are conducted via online video, and patients don’t have to look for their own doctors.

A screenshot from EazeMD

A screenshot from EazeMD

“Just as they would in a doctor’s office, each patient and doctor can discuss in confidence the patient’s medical and family histories,” Eaze said in a press release. “Patients can receive personalized care and advice about specific products to try along with recommended dosages.”

Another Bay Area marijuana delivery startup, the Y Combinator-backed Meadow, will send a doctor to your door. Appointments through its CannabisMD service typically take between 15 and 45 minutes and renewals can be done over Skype for $50.

“The doctor will meet you in your home and go through a non-invasive physical – measure heart rate, blood pressure and stuff like that,” Meadow CEO and co-founder David Hua said.

Under current California law, the government can’t punish doctors for recommending marijuana for a patient, and “If physicians use the same care in recommending marijuana to patients as they would recommending or approving medications, they have nothing to fear,” according to the state’s medical board.

A TechCrunch writer who tried the service said his CannabisMD-dispatched doctor arrived on a skateboard.

Same-day appointments are available via CannabisMD, but most people prefer to schedule appointments in advance, he said.

Hua declined to specify how many doctors are working with the service but said Meadow has relationships with “a handful” of physicians. And they don’t automatically approve every request, Hua said, noting that Meadow does not recommend marijuana for people suffering from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression or addiction.

While telemedicine, house calls and weed delivery aren’t new concepts, Eaze and Meadow are the first to streamline the user experience by linking patients with doctors and dispensaries through a single interface.

EazeMD also doesn’t employ doctors itself but instead partners with a Southern California medical group whose doctors staff the service between 8 a.m. and midnight seven days a week.

Its launch comes as San Francisco-based Eaze is expanding to Southern California. Eaze, which in April said it had made 60,000 deliveries to Northern California medical marijuana patients since its 2014 launch, now boasts operations in 60 California cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles.

While California alone is a lucrative market, McCarty already has further expansion on his mind and plans to move into new states within the next year.

Meena Thiruvengadam writes about the marijuana business for Yahoo Finance. Follow her blog on tumblr at amsterdamamerica.tumblr.com and on Twitter at @Meena_Thiru.

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