NamasteMD Launches as Digital Marketplace for Canada’s Medical Marijuana Patients

Our Client Namaste Technologies was featured in a story by The Cannabis Business Times


NamasteMD Launches as Digital Marketplace for Canada’s Medical Marijuana Patients

As the cannabis sector evolves quickly, e-commerce nudges its way into the market.

March 28, 2018
Eric Sandy

Namaste Technologies is quickly expanding its profile as a digital marketplace for medical marijuana delivery systems, and it’s keeping pace with evolving regulations in Canadian business sector. This month, the company formally launched NamasteMD in Canada to help medical patients access legal medical marijuana.

The intent was to design a platform to address patients’ interests in obtaining medical marijuana as easily as possible, while Canadian lawmakers round the final few months of regulatory preparation ahead of the country’s legal adult-use market.

But as those legislators hammer out the details behind marijuana retail sales, medical marijuana dispensaries are stuck in a legal gray area. Illicit dispensaries operate all over the country, but patients flout the law each time they enter and make a purchase. Sean Dollinger, CEO of Namaste Technologies, says that the natural end-around for the Canadian medical marijuana market is e-commerce and telemedicine.

“People can get cannabis any way they want, right?” he says. “Whether from an illegal dispensary or buying from a friend, et cetera. We think it’s really important that if somebody wants to go through the effort of getting cannabis legally, we find a way to get it to them legally and then be able to offer the support through a social worker … because it’s still a drug at the day and we want everybody to have an amazing user experience.”

The platform provides a three-step process: an application, a consultation with a nurse practitioner and formal recommendation.

“NamasteMD allows for somebody to visit our website and instantly get a prescription for free for medical cannabis,” he says.

Already, hundreds have signed up for the service; Dollinger anticipates 1,500 sign-ups in April.

“In 2018, it’s important that we offer variety,” Dollinger says. “Who are we to determine: Do you want an organic product, do you want a non-organic product? Do you want high THC, low THC? Our job is to bring the most products possible to the end user and then crate a marketplace where you can give feedback.”

In December, Namaste signed a deal with Greenlane, an order fulfillment service. It was a critical agreement, giving Namaste the consumer-facing structure of its ecommerce platform.

Greenlane services approximately 9,000 independent retailers. This month, the company acquired its competitor, VaporNation. That deal further extends Namsate’s inventory. “We’ve been hard at work and steadily growing for over 13 years now; in the past couple of years we have really pulled ahead of our competition and with this acquisition we have sprinted ahead even further,” Greenlane CEO Aaron LoCascio said in an emailed statement.

Looking ahead, Dollinger intends on continuing Namaste’s trend of almost weekly acquisitions and partnership agreements. His company was hailed as “the Amazon of the cannabis sector” by this month.

“We’ve seen brick-and-mortar continuously fail,” Dollinger says. “Obviously, e-commerce is the future. I think when rec does go live, people are going to love that experience of going into stores. It’s going to be new, it’s going to be fun. Once that kind of wears off and you’re waiting in line for half an hour … I think with e-commerce you can have a reliable source and know what you’re getting and that it’s going to show up the next day. I think that e-commerce ends up dominating that space as we’ve seen happen over and over again in the general retail side.”

Top photo courtesy of Namaste