Medical marijuana entrepreneurs aren't only growers, specialty law practices and assorted vendors. At least one is working to crack one of the toughest nuts -- helping cannabis-friendly doctors feel safe, confident and armed to treat their patients.
And MarijuanaDoctors.com-- also known as Medical Cannabis Network --has just signed up its first Florida physician.
MarijuanaDoctors.com provides unique physician software that many in the industry see as a turnkey solution for an issue facing doctors who want to break into the cannabis industry.
"We provide software applicable to doctors in every state where medical marijuana is legal, because every state has different rules and requirements," said Jason Draizin, CEO and owner of MarijuanaDoctors.com.
The company/website provides free doctor referral for patients looking for doctors who look favorably on marijuana as treatment and for doctors who specialize in all conditions and diseases in which the cultivated plant can be effective.
In a telephone interview with Sunshine State News, Draizin said his 4-year-old company, with a network of 450 doctors nationwide, has just signed up Israel Grinberg, M.D., of Hialeah.Grinberg, who specializes in physical medicine, rehabilitation and sports medicine, has been practicing for 35 years and is affiliated with Hialeah Hospital. He speaks English, French, Italian and Spanish.
"Nationwide, we get inquiries from about 1,000 doctors a month -- inquiries, not necessarily signups. Not all of the 1,000 will follow through," Draizin said. "But as states that have legalized get deeper into the process, the busier we are."
Judging from patients' and doctors' interest, he said, Florida will become one of the largest of the company's markets. "We have an internal waiting list of 4,500 patients wanting us to hook them up with cannabis-friendly doctors. And we have a list of more than a dozen doctors waiting to sign up in Florida."
Draizin, who made the seed money for MarijuanaDoctors.com in real estate, said he has spent $2.5 million since 2010 getting the Long Island-based company established. ("Actually, we started in Miami. In the end it was cheaper to move the actual physical location to my New York office," he explained.)
The idea for the business, Draizin said, was all his own: "I understood that due to the federal scheduling of cannabis, there would be a need for an online, regulated market to locate cannabis-friendly physicians as well as provide them with a turnkey solution -- to keep them in compliance with state regulations, federal regulations and pharmaceutical regulations.
"The opportunity for physicians in this industry has a potential to generate more revenue than any other treatment offered by a doctor, creating for practices a financially sound business model."
The company provides "a wealth of information" on the status of each patient's condition, and keeps it current. It includes everything, from allergies to every treatment he/she has ever been prescribed, and it is state-specific -- so that both patient and doctor can be assured they are in compliance with state law.
"We do everything to streamline the process for a doctor," said Draizin, "so he or she can know the patient, know how to proceed to follow the law and be as accurate as possible with his or her recommendation for the patient." He said marijuana cannot be "prescribed," because it is federally listed as a schedule 1 drug. Instead doctors must write a "letter of recommendation."
MarijuanaDoctors.com was part of a small, elite selection of companies that currently operate within the medical marijuana industry asked to attend and make a presentation at this year's Pain Week convention.
During the first week of September in Las Vegas, Pain Week lured 3,000 medical professionals and 10,000 consumers to the five-day gathering of some of the nations top medical professionals who specialize in chronic pain management and its associated diseases or conditions.
Medical Cannabis Network Chief Operating Officer John Nicolazzo, Draizin's partner, presented the companys physician software. "We've taken on an educators role when it comes to explaining state medical marijuana programs to patients, caregivers and entrepreneurs," Nicolazzo said.
Draizin said the company is keeping up with Florida's rulemaking process, keeps in touch with state Health Department progress, and is gearing up for an even greater flood of inquiries after Amendment 2 passes, as he expects it will Nov. 4.
Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith