New medical marijuana clinic coming to Ann Arbor
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com file photo
MediSwipe recently moved its headquarters from Florida to Birmingham, Mich., and is planning to open two offices in Ann Arbor before the end of March.
The first Ann Arbor location will be a doctor’s office with three physicians who will be able to write medical marijuana prescriptions after creating a “continuous one-on-one relationship” with patients, CEO Michael Friedman said.
“Up until now a lot of the practice has been patients will come in and say ‘I suffer from Chrone's disease, or I suffer from glaucoma,’ and the doctor would just sign the certificates after briefly meeting with the patient,” he said.
“The state wants a stronger more continuous relationship between doctor and patient and that’s what this center will be providing.”
Friedman said that once a doctor writes a prescription for medical marijuana, it can be filled for up to 21 days, after which the patient gets a state identification card. Once acquired, the cards can be used for up to two years.
In addition to functioning as a doctor's office, the center will be a “patient certification center.” A staff of six to eight people will handle the administration of the office where patients will be assisted with the paperwork necessary to acquire the state ID card.
“MediSwipe has nothing to do with the medicine, we’re completely agnostic about it,” Friedman said. “We will not be dispensing anything, we are just streamlining the process and helping patients fill out paperwork to get their ID cards.”
MediSwipe’s second Ann Arbor location will be a “virtual office space” designed to function as a safe meeting place for patients who have prescribed medical marijuana and their designated “caretakers.”
According to state law, each caretaker can be responsible for themselves and up to five other patients.
“Without dispensaries it’s going to go back to how it was before where you were seeing a lot of parking lot deals,” Friedman said.
“Patients don’t necessarily want to go to a caregiver’s home and they’re carrying cash. Caregivers don’t want to go to patient’s home carrying meds, there’s a lot of liability on both sides of the transaction. So we’re providing them with a place to meet.”
MediSwipe will charge the caretakers for use of the rooms but will not take a cut of any transactions that occur in the building, Friedman said. Caretakers will be able to pay a fee to use one of the 25-30 offices and also will gain access to MediSwipe’s database software to keep track of their patients.
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com file photo
“We expect to gain 10 percent of the caregivers, several hundred in the Ann Arbor area right off the bat,” he said. “Based on the new legislation [House Bill 4271] there will be a closing of all dispensaries.”
The leases on the two spaces have not been finalized, but the locations of the offices should be public by the end of the week. Friedman said the doctor’s office and patient certification center will be approximately 1,500 square feet and the meeting space for caregivers and patients is about 10,000 square feet.
MediSwipe is a publically traded company that also specializes in electronic transaction processing. Friedman said that currently credit card companies are not accepting transactions that deal with medical marijuana, making it a cash-only enterprise.
“We do have the technologies set up to handle that if those rules change though,” he said.
MediSwipe also is developing technologies and mobile apps to help patients navigate state laws and match them with doctors and caregivers.
In addition to the two Ann Arbor offices, the company also is opening a similar space in Wayne County.