Marijuana is just a few inches from legal in California, where the drug is cheap and widely available on medical grounds, even to adults without serious health conditions.
But bureaucracy still stands in the way. Even in the Golden State, where the rules on medical cannabis are so loose tourists can get it, patients must have a doctor’s recommendation. If they want official legal protection, they must also register with the state and get an ID card.
That process could become significantly easier, though, thanks to a new app, EazeMD, that lets users seek out doctors online, apply for recommendations over the phone, and even order marijuana for delivery. What was once a multi-step process could soon move much more smoothly.
EazeMD streamlines the MMJ process
Presently, California medical marijuana patients must obtain a physician’s recommendation in person – not because the law requires it but because it’s the easiest way to get a quick exam and a recommendation. With EazeMD, however, the exam takes place by phone, patients are issued e-cards in advance of their hard IDs, and there are options for delivery within 15 minutes.
“You need to actually send a driver to deliver consumer goods, but there’s no reason you should have to actually dispatch a doctor,” said EazeMD founder Keith McCarty. “It really just streamlines the process.”
California voters legalized medical cannabis in 1996, making it the first state to do so. Under the original law, there were few hard-and-fast rules about possession, cultivation, or sale, so local communities were left to impose regulations of their own.
Industry regulations were lacking
A follow-up law, passed by the state Legislature a few years later, enacted new statewide rules but still left the industry mostly to its own devices. In the decades since, critics of marijuana reform have pointed to the relative chaos of California’s MMJ system, saying it’s too easy for non-patients to get their hands on cannabis.
Even so, the process for registering as a patient can be cumbersome and expensive. Currently patients have to spend roughly $100 to secure a doctor’s recommendation, plus the cost of medicine. For poor patients, that expense can be insurmountable.
EazeMD aims to reduce the cost of registration, even as it increases convenience. It isn’t the first cannabis delivery app on the market – Meadow, for one, got there first. But it is unique in that it offers a comprehensive approach to finding a physician, sitting an exam, applying for a card, and buying marijuana.
Critics will likely complain that services like EazeMD make it easier for non-patients to scam the system. But California state law explicitly allows medical treatment by phone, according to telehealth guidelines issued by the Medical Board of California: “There are no legal prohibitions to using technology in the practice of medicine, as long as the practice is done by a California licensed physician.”
“Telehealth is accepted across 28 states and 23 states [that] have made marijuana for medical reasons legal,” McCarty said. “It’s accepted across the California Medical Board.”