MMJ in the cloud

 Uncategorized
Apr 192011
 
Authors: Chadwick Bowman

The guys behind the startup website idweeds.com don’t smoke pot, but Corbin Fields, the founder, can see its benefits and believes marijuana can make lives better. The website is an office managing tool for medical marijuana centers to help treat patients.

Fields gained his work ethic in the rapid moving rock ’n’ roll industry, working as the tour manager for Tickle Me Pink, the recently dismantled band from Fort Collins.

“I traveled the country, leading those hooligans around town,” Fields said. “It was a huge learning experience; it opened my eyes to how to create something prolific.”

While on tour, one of his duties was to seek out marijuana for others, when he stumbled across the idea of coordinating the lucrative business from seed to smoke within the newly blossoming mobile app world.

He took his idea to a conference called Boulder Startup Week, where his pitch was successful. He formed a team of eight people and the project was underway.

“I pitched the idea and got a lot of laughs, then I told them it was a $1 billion a year industry and people turned their heads,” Fields said. “Out of 37 ideas, we got second place.”

idweeds.com hopes to open up an online and mobile app system by the end of May to help medical marijuana centers reduce their overhead costs by way of inventory maintenance, offer a point-of-sale operating system and manage patient compliance.

With regulations and laws continuously changing in the industry, Fields says it has become increasingly difficult for medical marijuana centers to sustain, which is his main motivation behind the startup.

Dave Schwaab, a consultant for Abundant Healing, a medical marijuana center in north Old Town, said the increasing regulations put more expenses and effort on the centers, which “ultimately hurts the patients.”

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 94 percent of prescribed medical marijuana patients have severe pain, and the average age of patients is 40.

“Law makers are afraid of social conservatives, so they regulate the heck out of us,” Schwaab said. “Our view is that medical marijuana is a critical alternative to opiates and the prescription drugs to help deal with chronic pain.”

Officer Allen Heaton of Fort Collins Police Services believes idweeds.com has an intuitive idea, but foresees some issues.

“The medical marijuana industry is set up for abuse and those people seeking to just ‘get high’ can easily obtain a marijuana registry card,” said Heaton. “I would like to see dispensaries have the same control as pharmacies, with licensed pharmacists dispensing FDA controlled product just like any legitimate medicine.”

Heaton said getting all the centers involved with the website will be difficult and the opportunity to sell marijuana on the black market can be profitable. He said, “not everyone is as scrupulous in this business as law makers would like them to be.”

Owen Shepard, a medical marijuana patient who suffers from painful knee injuries says he hasn’t noticed regulations affecting the centers financially, but the product they offer is crucial to his own livelihood.

“I would never be able to get decent sleep without marijuana,” Shepard said.

Fields also wants to instill into idweeds.com what he calls the “human marijuana genome project,” which would accommodate patients’ needs with centers in their area.

Schwaab said it is difficult to engage with everyone who wants to help the industry, ranging from manufacturers who produce water pipes to patients who need marijuana.

“The fact is that it’s a $1 billion industry, and no one is making any money,” Fields said. “If we can show the government and big public that these people can be transparent, they can be ethical, they can be morally right and they can be responsible and help people, I think it’s going to change the outlook. That’s what our main goal is: to bring that to the industry.”

idweeds.com was initially scheduled to launch April 20, in ode to the marijuana smoking holiday, but has since been pushed until May 30.
For more information you can visit idweeds.com or follow them on Twitter, @idweeds.

Editorial Editor Chadwick Bowman can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

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