Marijuana Business Plans Should Incorporate Medicinal Sales

The first step in any successful marijuana business plan is knowing your audience. For marijuana entrepreneurs, that means paying careful attention to the fact that not only are one-third of U.S. adults over 21 interested in trying legal cannabis, but also understanding why.medical marijuana attorney

The answer may surprise some folks: It’s not to get high, but for medicinal reasons.

Studying Cannabis Consumer Motivation

A recent survey conducted by market analysts at Nielsen reveals those interested in trying cannabis wanted to do so for wellness-related reasons, often for treatment of pain. The breakdown for motivation is as follows:

  • To ease chronic pain (migraines, arthritis, neck & back pain, menstrual cramps) – 85 percent
  • Improve mental health state – 82 percent
  • Treatment of minor injuries – 82 percent
  • Use as a sleep aid – 77 percent
  • Relaxation – 74 percent

Treatment of a non-pain-related medical condition or disease, overall improvement of public health and enjoyment with family and and friends were other reasons noted.

Of those who were curious about cannabis for medical reasons, most wanted to explore it as an alternative for conditions they are already using medication (prescription or over-the-counter) to treat, but most had the impression THC would be more effective and a more natural option.

While we don’t have the sheer volume of peer-reviewed study on the health benefits of cannabis that we do so many other drugs, thanks to research restrictions on Schedule I narcotics, the scope of our knowledge is expanding. A research review conducted two years ago by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine  pointed to data showing numerous conditions – from pain to multiple sclerosis to the powerful waves of nausea from chemotherapy may be effectively treated with marijuana.

Hiring Cannabis Nurses to Meet Medicinal User Need

When states began legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes, it was presumed the medical marijuana programs wouldn’t be necessary, or would at least be less relevant, now that everyone could buy it without issue. Except that’s not exactly true. Those under 21 (i.e., children treated for epilepsy, etc.), still require a recommendation from a doctor.
Beyond that, this survey data shows us that not just some but MOST who have an interest in trying marijuana expressly for its medicinal properties.
For marijuana businesses, this means investing in services and employees that can help meet those needs. Some jokingly refer to it as a “dope specialty,” but there has been a rising trend among cannabis companies selling recreational marijuana to hire registered nurses and nurse practitioners who can consult with those interested in gleaning more information on how to get the most therapeutic value for their green. There’s even an American Cannabis Nurses Association.

Doing so is generally not risky, risky, given the historical lack of enforcement against individual caregivers for medical marijuana and marijuana’s relative safety when used as directed. Still, many insurers won’t cover these consultations (so patients pay out-of-pocket) and nurses and/or dispensaries will want to examine potential liabilities as they relate to medical malpractice claims. To be clear: We aren’t aware of any such claims, and they would be difficult to prove anyway. Doctors and nurse practitioners don’t prescribe marijuana the way they do other drugs (thanks to federal law), and it’s likely the First Amendment would protect the right of a provider to recommend it or advise a patient on it.

Bottom line: Budding cannabis businesses may not want to count out health and wellness services from their plans.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, ancillary companies, patients, doctors and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resource:

WHAT OTC CONSUMERS THINK ABOUT CANNABIS, May 15, 2019, Neilsen