New self contained medical kiosk technology that allow patients to remotely consult with medical professionals and even dispense pharmaceuticals offers immense applications for legal cannabis dispensaries.
For obvious reasons, cannabis dispensary owners must budget their money carefully. In spite of cannabis’ growing popularity, it remains federally illegal, which can cause plenty of issues for business owners. This means they must run their dispensaries as fiscally efficient as possible, and save money wherever they can.
Cutting down on costs could make the difference between a dispensary operating and going out of business. So how can we create a cheaper dispensary?
Average startup costs for a physical dispensary location, doesn’t include real estate costs or state compliance
Real estate costs make up the brunt of cannabis business expenses. By cutting these costs to zero through new self contained technology, more dispensaries could become operational faster
One of the largest startup costs cannabis business owners take on is real estate. Before you germinate a single cannabis seed, your cannabis dispensaries will require a retail location, which comes with its own a set of various expenses.
These include making your business accessible for people with disabilities, and including proper fire exits. If you start from the ground up, you must also purchase building permits, adhere to zoning laws, and deal with many other pesky details that accompany brick and mortar stores.
If you rent to get around some of these costs, your rent may be higher than you expect due to the “risky nature” of cannabis business. Your landlord may want to offset any possibility that your business could be shut down, or simply take advantage of the fact that there aren’t as many renters sympathetic to cannabis businesses, and you may have nowhere else to go.
But before you purchase land, you may have to pay licensing to your state just to be allowed to cultivate or sell cannabis legally. Beginning your endeavour could cost you a cool thirty thousand dollars, before any other expense. All this means fewer dispensaries and fewer cannabis reaching the hands and lungs of patients who need it.
You can save on brick and mortar store costs by moving your business online. However, online cannabis ordering comes with challenges. Until cannabis is federally legal, online marketplaces will be seen as less trustworthy.
But what if, instead of creating an entire dispensary from the ground up, in accordance with building laws, new medical kiosk technology could allow for unmanned, self contained dispensaries to be placed anywhere foot traffic is high?
Cannabis companies do benefit from physical locations, but not everyone can operate a brick and mortar facility
New medical kiosk technology would allow patients to visit an unmanned, but fully stocked medical care station. This could be translated for medical cannabis patients and recreational enthusiasts alike.
On March 13, 2019, On Med technologies unveiled the first unmanned, medical “care station,” which allow anyone who enter their pod like structure to consult with a doctor via facetime video, make and fill prescriptions via a built in pharmaceutical dispensary, and even diagnose minor ailments.
According to Austin White, On Med’s CEO and founder, theses care stations will provide the most, “comprehensive and beneficial telemedicine solution in the world.” They plan to place these unmanned units where access to healthcare is minimal, like rural areas, as well as highly populated places full of busy people, like airports, construction worksites, and campuses.
The On Med unmanned care station is one of a kind. While computer integration into the health world began with tablets and smartphones connecting doctors and patients, White maintains that they, “lack quality diagnostic capabilities and certainly none of them can dispense a medication."
In order to diagnose and prescribe, the doctor needs to see the patient, and place the medication into their hands. These care station pods allow doctors to do both. But what does this mean for cannabis dispensaries?
Unmanned, self contained cannabis dispensary pods could save cannabis businesses thousands of dollars in real estate and operation costs
This care station technology could be utilized to cut down on marijuana business costs while increasing customer satisfaction and access to cannabis.
Marijuana dispensaries already have begun implementing things like digital signage, online ordering, and delivery tracking to speed up the sales process. However, On Med’s care stations combine all of these innovations into one machine, which can be placed anywhere.
These care stations essentially act as a one stop shop, where patients can consult with a doctor, get their diagnosis, and receive and fill prescriptions. These features can easily be adapted for medical or recreational cannabis dispensaries.
For example, On Med’s video consult technology could allow patients to speak with cannabis physicians, who could educate them about what types of cannabis may work best for their situation, without having to meet in a dispensary. In medical markets, the pod could be integrated into a statewide database, verifying that whoever enters is legally allowed to purchase cannabis.
Instead of pharmaceuticals, the care station’s built in dispensary could be stocked with different forms and quantities of cannabis. The secure, locking nature of On Med’s technology may prove crucial here, as any unmanned cannabis dispensary would need good security.
In the not so distant future, when cannabis prohibition ends, these pod like dispensaries could be placed anywhere foot traffic and demand is high. Just like frozen yogurt machines, self contained dispensaries could become a turnkey solution for marijuana business owners, allowing anyone with relative capital to open a weed store without the need to first buy land, or rent a building.
When all the legal restrictions on cannabis fade away, expect these automated, self contained dispensary pods to pop up everywhere.
Chris Matich is a professional writer, journalist, and editor living in Pittsburgh, PA. Chris blogs for Schenley.net. His writing interests include LGBT+ people/issues, sports writing, and blogging. Chris currently writes about web optimization, blogging practices, medical cannabis, and cannabis lifestyle. He writes fiction and creative nonfiction in his spare time. Linkedin, Twitter