Seeing green: Would-be medical marijuana moguls scramble for piece of the action

Posted on November 29th, by Evan in Politics. No Comments

After working for 13 years as a chiropractor in Arizona, Bruce Bedrick made a career shift.

Intrigued by the promise of California’s medical marijuana system, Bedrick founded a company last year that develops ATM-style vending machines that would be installed in dispensaries.

His business plan has yet to be accepted by California regulators, but for Bedrick that’s OK. He’s now trying to get in on the front end of a 21st Century gold rush in Arizona, fueled by the recent passage of Proposition 203, Arizona’s medical marijuana initiative.

Just a few weeks after the come-from-behind victory of Prop. 203, Bedrick finds himself among hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners looking to capitalize on Arizona’s soon-to-be burgeoning medical marijuana industry.

While the state Department of Health Services will be mired in the process of drafting regulations for the industry over the next four months, it’s not stopping businesses from forming and pitching products and services that may never be approved by state regulators. And competition is already getting fierce.

Marijuana transport companies, specialty attorneys, insurance agents, security firms, a publishing company and people who want to grow and dispense the drug are among those looking for a piece of the action. At least two large California companies are planning to open schools here to train entrepreneurs looking to break into the business.

The Arizona Corporation Commission has already put a freeze on 77 business applications for medical marijuana-related firms, which will not be processed until the law becomes official after the Nov. 29 canvass.

If Bedrick’s machines meet the standards for security and patient and product tracking, Bedrick would have an immediate and state-certified business.

“If that’s the case, then clearly it would put Kind Clinics front and center,” Bedrick said of his company. “We would have the licensed technology that can fill that role for the state, if (the state) says we need an automated system.”

Bedrick emphasized that he’s not pursuing his endeavor solely out of a personal financial drive. He claims his larger concern is helping to establish a well-regulated system that promotes ease of use for patients and a level of comfort from the community and lawmakers.

But Bedrick’s professed caution-over-profit doesn’t seem to be shared among all those who are jumping into the industry…

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