These days, nearly anything available in a retail store can be purchased online at Amazon, Etsy or any one of thousands of Web-based shopping hubs. Even pharmaceuticals and doctors can be accessed with an internet connection and the click of a link. It seems the only exception is marijuana. Still restricted by Federal prohibition, convenient access is hardly keeping up with demand in states where medical or personal use has already been legalized. Patients dream of a day when they’re able buy their medicinal cannabis online.
California Dreaming Sets Another Trend
Twenty years after California made history by becoming the first state to legalize medical marijuana, the state is once again ahead of the curve with two more convenient but controversial firsts:
Most notable is a telemedicine portal called HelloMD, which allows patients in California to receive a “recommendation” from a licensed physician or osteopathic doctor to treat a long list of medical conditions with whole plant or high-CBD marijuana. Patients can sign up for membership, schedule an online video consultation and, in moments, receive the “recommendation” that qualifies them to visit a dispensary and purchase marijuana medicinals.
Another more recent “First” is online shopping for medicinal marijuana. Earlier today, Sava, an online shopping portal showcasing artisanal medical cannabis products offered by a variety of retail vendors, announced that it is now open for business. While anyone from any state can browse the website, products are only available to California adults holding a medical recommendation from a qualified, California-licensed MD.
Likened to an online boutique environment such as Etsy, Sava will focus on promoting artisanal products offered by vetted small businesses and offer a variety of information about their products with a goal of helping to introduce the benefits of medical marijuana to a larger audience. The online outlet carries more than 60 ethically sourced products and, like Etsy, allows its independent retailers to set up online “stores” in order to feature their products in an environment that is aligned with their own branding.
According to the Sava announcement, the idea occurred to founder, Andrea Brooks after a CBD tincture provided life-changing relief from systemic nerve damage that had left her in constant pain and unable to get out of bed most days.
“Cannabis helped jumpstart my healing process and I had an epiphany,” said Brooks. “I could make it my mission to help others navigate the world of medical marijuana.”
According to Brooks, an award-winning human rights activist based in San Francisco, the name “Sava” is a play off the popular marijuana strain sativa. She selected the name in hopes of highlighting the company’s goal to offer products that soothe people’s pain and provide information that gives her customers peace of mind.
In addition to carrying traditional dry cannabis medicinals, Sava sells tinctures, edibles, Shea butter, epsom salts and other unique products. Some of Sava’s independent producers include Outset Edibles, Alchemy by Dark Heart, Flour Child, Treat Yourself and Skyline Boulevard.
“Andrea brings a compassionate and knowledgeable approach to providing healthy cannabis products to customers all from the comfort of their own home,” said Cindy Pinzon from Treat Yourself, a company that sells vegan edibles like Cherry-almond pop-tartlettes and paleo coconut-banana cakes and topical treatments infused with cannabis on Sava.
Sava advises patients to seek the advice of knowledgeable cannabis-focused healthcare professional for dosage recommendations and refers customers to HelloMD to get recommendations about cannabis online. Hello MD, which has recently partnered with Sava, offers new members referred by Sava a discount on its annual telehealth subscription fee, which also includes the initial consultation with a doctor specializing in marijuana treatments..
Are We Ready for National Access to Cannabis Online?
As recently reported in an article here at TCR, medical marijuana patients are hopeful that telemedicine may soon make cannabis treatments available to patients in all states where it is legal. Those who may benefit most from online access are residents or remote rural areas where cannabis healthcare providers and dispensaries are scarce.
But again, Federal laws barring progress still need to be rewritten on a national level. California is headed in the right direction and rumor has it that Nevada may soon make it legal for doctors in that state to recommend cannabis online. If Web-based outlets like Sava and HelloMD prove successful without any public mishaps, they may set the stage for more states to make it legal for their residents to gain access to the incredible healing benefits of cannabis.
Marijuana banking blockades could present the biggest hurdle for dispensaries eager to start selling cannabis online. With those coupled with the many contradictions between state and Federal laws, it may take some time for sales of cannabis online to grow into another Amazon-esque norm.