The recently passed medicinal marijuana law is already bringing big business to the Bay State, and the rules haven’t even been finalized yet.
On November 26, MedBox, the country’s first biometric medical pot dispensing system, announced its arrival in Massachusetts.
The systems, which are run by Kind Clinics, LLC, a medical marijuana dispensary support and consulting firm, use fingerprint recognition technology to approve patient drug use.
“People hire us to do everything from soup to nuts,” said Doctor Bruce Bedrick, who is CEO of both Kind Clinics and Medbox. “We are here to be a resource for physicians and people who want to get into the business.”
In November, Massachusetts became the 18th state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.
Under the wording of the proposal passed, 35 dispensaries can be setup throughout the state to sell and distribute pot to a person diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition after receiving written certification from a physician. The law will be overseen by the state’s Department of Public Health.
Bedrick, who has already set up an office in Natick to consult with future clients looking to open a dispensary, told BostInno that once the law comes into play, the Medbox systems can be set up in shops for those interested in the service.
Once hooked up, Medbox uses fingerprint-identification scanners to make sure the mechanisms—which look similar to vending machines— are properly monitored.
When in use, clerks will also be on hand with advanced authorization to access the pot products, which will be housed inside the Medbox machines and placed behind the counter of dispensaries licensed by the state’s Department of Public Health.
Besides the fingerprint, patients would also need to provide a state ID and a HIPPA compliant user ID card that says “Medbox” on it, which would be provided by the company.
“Not only are we good at what we do, but our technology is phenomenal,” said Bedrick. “It’s the safest, most secure and legally compliant way to dispense medication, whether traditional pharmaceuticals or not.”
Clerks and dispensaries could then fill the Medbox with an array of medicinal products, from weed in pill bottles to marijuana-infused foods.
“[They] can range from creams and lotions and topical solutions to cakes, pie, cookies, meals, sauces and oils,” he said. “They can be various things…lollipops, candy, you name it.”
MedBox has more than 100 of the machines in dispensaries throughout the country, including Colorado and Washington, where marijuana was recently legalized.
Bedrick said he is hosting media demos in Natick all week to let “anyone wondering what [the devices] might look like” get a sneak peak, and is planning a showcase in Boston in January, around the time that the law becomes active, to address concerns raised by state and law officials.
“At the end of the day we are the most successful in the industry with the best technology,” said Bedrick.
While law enforcement officials have expressed concerns about what types of crime pot dispensaries will bring to the state when they finally open their doors, Bedrick assured BostInno that in all of the places they have set up machines so far, none have had any problems.
“There has never been a break in,” he said.
MedBox’s Massachusetts arrival comes at a time when Boston city leaders are looking into how to control and regulate the medical marijuana industry here in the Hub.
On Wednesday, City Councilor Rob Consalvo will call for a hearing to discuss setting up zoning rules for the weed stores.
There are also seminars scheduled this week in Cambridge that will inform interested entrepreneurs about the ins-and-outs of owning and operating a pot dispensary in Massachusetts.
Once the state determines where the stores will be located, that’s when Bedrick’s company steps in to help find locations, create applications and furnish the shops with the proper equipment and Medboxes.
“I think the opportunity, it’s a great thing all the way around,” said Bedrick. “It is a wonderful chance for patients to get medicine…and it just helps raise awareness and shows compassion. [Medical pot legalization] is a human rights issue and a medical issue.”
Here is a video of how the system would potentially work:
Below is a series of photos taken during a pro-marijuana rally during the Summer by supporters pushing for pot legalization.