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MediPays Service for Medical Marijuana Could Happen Sooner in OklahomaLock Icon

2 min read

Dan Roda is still not ready to say which bank will be the depository for MediPays, the cashless banking service for which he is chief legal officer, but it’s starting to look like the Little Rock company will serve the medical marijuana industry in Oklahoma before Arkansas.

Oklahoma voted to legalize medical marijuana in June. But the Okies have made the process so easy — possibly too easy, Roda said — that it has wiped out Arkansas’ 19-month head start on getting prescription marijuana into the hands of patients with prescriptions.

Oklahoma has already issued more than 1,100 licenses to cultivators, processors and dispensaries. Unlike Arkansas, which strictly limited the number of cultivator licenses (five) and the number of dispensary licenses (32), Oklahoma is licensing all qualified applicants and letting the market sort it out.

“The qualifications are hilariously simple,” Roda said. The licensing fee is $2,500, and the owners must be 25 or older and not have a nonviolent felony conviction in the past two years (five years for a violent crime). No more than 25 percent of the business can be owned by a nonresident of Oklahoma.

Demand for medical marijuana is likely to be significantly higher in Oklahoma, and not just because it has nearly a million more residents. While Arkansas also limited the medical diagnoses for which marijuana can be prescribed, Oklahoma did not. Doctors there can recommend marijuana to any patient (even minors with parental consent) for any reason.

One similarity between the two states: State-licensed dispensaries can only sell marijuana produced in-state by licensed cultivators. And so many competing growers and retailers are likely to depress the price of marijuana produced in Oklahoma.

That glut, Roda said, “creates the possibility of produce leaving the state through the black market.” And that could complicate Arkansas’ more heavily regulated medical marijuana industry.

MediPays is the doing-business-as name for Rockview Digital Solutions LLC, which was incorporated last year by Roda, CEO Brian Bauer, CFO John Foley and Chief Technology Officer Greg Ellis. And while the four Little Rock businessmen were the original investors, Roda told Whispers that an Colorado seed-stage investment firm has invested $30,000 as part of an accelerator program.

The MediPays product is a mobile wallet into which patients with prescriptions for medical marijuana can load money that can be used only at participating marijuana dispensaries. It is one of 10 ancillary businesses for the legal cannabis industry selected to participate in CanopyBoulder Accelerator program this fall.

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