Uber-For-Weed Startup Meadow Lights Up In San Francisco

  • Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 12.44.11 PMYou can really see where David Hua’s food blogger cred shines with his new medical marijuana startup Meadow. In the app, there is just close-up after close-up of bud.

That’s because as a longtime medical marijuana user, he has an almost weed sommelier-like care and taste in finding quality product.

His new company Meadow lets medical marijuana users quickly order and receive medical marijuana in less than an hour through a mobile app.

Meadow and other startups like Eaze are emerging as the United States undergoes a rapid shift in cultural attitudes and regulation around marijuana. Since the 1970s, about 37 states have liberalized marijuana laws by either allowing medical usage, full legalization or through decriminalization. The New York Times, whose editorial board finally called for legalization over the summer, says that this is a “watershed year” for legalization with half of the states in the country deciding on relaxing prohibitive laws.

With proof that other on-demand service startups seem to be working, it’s creating a unique opportunity to apply the business model to bud. Unlike some of Meadow’s fast-emerging rivals, Hua and his startup work closely with local dispensaries like The Vapor Room Collective. In the app, you can browse through specific varieties of medical marijuana with names like “Jack Diesel” or “Blueberry Kush.”

The company lets people join partner collectives online by uploading their California identification card or driver’s license and then a physician’s recommendation letter. They connect that with a secure, HIPPA-compliant database where the collective can quickly verify their credentials. Hua envisions expanding to other states with a similar model.

He says the hard part about this business is making sure all of the unique laws and guidelines are followed.

“This is not some get-rich-quick scheme; we’re playing the long game on behalf of the medical movement,” Hua said. “Our overarching goal is to implement and publicize a lawful marketplace to demonstrate to medical cannabis opponents that patients can obtain access to necessary treatment without endangering public safety or the rule of law.”

While Meadow isn’t fully integrated with a dispensary’s inventory, that’s the long-term goal. Hua says one of the issues with ordering medical marijuana is that the collective might not know what they have on hand. So Meadow connects with a collective’s up-to-date menus.

By providing door-to-door delivery, patients don’t have to wait in line or have to keep getting their eligibility checked. They charge the dispensary a $3 fee for each delivery and all of their partners accept either cash or debit cards.

As for Hua, he has been involved in startups for years. Before Meadow, he was head of mobile growth and marketing for Sincerely, a mobile gifting company that was acquired by Provide Commerce. Before that, he was head of content at HealthCentral.com. Meadow is currently bootstrapped.