Medicinal Cannabis has been legal in California since 1996, but a lot of states, budget strapped and looking to capitalize on the potential tax revenue the herb can generate are just beginning to catch on. Medical marijuana is now legal in 15 states and business is better than ever. State governments are not alone in trying to capitalize on the growing industry. General Cannabis (OTCPK: CANA), the Southern California based technology focused company that services medicinal cannabis clinics is also doing its best to profit from the estimated $45 billion market.
The company was featured today in an MSN Money article discussing the flurry of medicinal cannabis clinics opening their doors in states like New Jersey and Arizona and the manner in which General Cannabis is addressing the new business. Medicinal cannabis has always been an issue plagued by clashing opinions and in the past, this has led to some indistinct legislation and some ambiguous enforcement. General Cannabis recognizes this and has designed its business model around it.
Rather than distributing the medical marijuana itself, General Cannabis develops web destinations, like the highly popular WeedMaps.com, which connects patients to dispensaries. The website has 1,800 of the country’s estimated 2000 medical marijuana dispensaries in its database. The website identifies the nearest dispensary to a zip code alongside a bevy of user reviews on the available services and products.
The site has already generates massive traffic, but Justin Hartfield, the CEO of WeedMaps, thinks business will continue to grow alongside the number of states where medicinal cannabis is legal. In a recent MSN Money article, Hartfield states his belief that most states will approve medical marijuana over the next 10 to 15 years.
His opinion is supported by Jim Pakulis, the CEO of General Cannabis. "One of the reasons we are seeing states having more of an interest in cannabis is because of the revenue it can generate," says Pakulis, who sees medical marijuana as an unexplored avenue for profit.
Pakulis, through General Cannabis, seeks to add a sense of organization and legitimacy to the industry. An industry of this magnitude is deserving of a strong infrastructure, but until now, there appeared to be a lack of corporate order. Pakulis recognized the need and sought to fill the gap, making it easier for patients to connect with dispensaries and for dispensaries to process the high volume of transactions they perform each day with their merchant processing services. General Health Solutions, is the division of General Cannabis devoted to these services. Beyond transaction processing, General Health Solutions offers management support that ranges from assisting doctors with collections and hiring to site location and marketing assistance. Its call center, part of its marketing effort, was recently getting about 800 calls per day and making hundreds of doctor's appointments each day for marijuana smokers.
General Cannabis is the only public company designed to capitalize on medicinal cannabis through ancillary markets, a business model that generated $1.2 million in profit and $7.7 million in revenue last year. Shares of CANA trade at around $4.50 on the Pink Sheets.
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