The CannaVative Group is committed to strong public engagement and outreach to the community. Community outreach has three goals: (1) to establish a process by which the community can express itself regarding the project; (2) to inform the community about medical marijuana issues; and (3) to ensure that their approach genuinely reflects the community’s needs. To reach their goals, The CannaVative Group anticipates doing one or more of the following, depending on input at various stages of the project:
- Identifying a broad cross-section of community-based organizations and community leaders, including those representing indigent and traditionally underserved and underrepresented residents, to learn how residents and stakeholders can best receive useful information that enables them to participate meaningfully.
- Identifying and visiting civic, senior, and veteran organizations, health care support groups, and community meetings to introduce nonprofit partners, company mission, and the vision for the patient care center. The CannaVative Group believes this type of outreach establishes their legitimacy with the community and the vested interest in its welfare. The CannaVative Group will listen receptively and respond to any concerns about the project.
- Holding or participating in a community meeting to introduce The CannaVative Group and present the project to any parties with similar goals. Again, the purpose would be to listen and find ways to be responsive. Completing the outreach efforts with a follow-up letter to community stakeholders, letting them know that The CannaVative Group heard their concerns and what procedures they will follow in responding to such concerns.
The CannaVative Group is committed to engaging patients and residential communities on an ongoing basis. They will partner with local community organizations to solicit volunteers for these positions.
The CannaVative Group will create public awareness in several ways
The CannaVative Group can create public awareness of their dispensary and attract new patients through community outreach and education programs. By offering free workshops and seminars to potential patients and other healthcare providers on topics related to medical marijuana and the conditions for which it is typically recommended, as well as on legal issues surrounding medical marijuana, The CannaVative Group makes the existence of their organization known and attract members by positioning themselves in the public mind as ambassadors of a socially responsible provider.
Developing Provider Alliances
An important element of The CannaVative Group’s patient-centered approach is the help they will offer patient members in finding providers and services to handle other aspects of their care and in coordinating their care across their many different providers. To be able to do this, we must first build alliances with these other providers and organizations. However, alliances are two-way streets and will result in their getting referrals from them as well. A key part of this outreach initiative will be educating alliance partners on the benefits and legalities of medical marijuana, and on the processes involved in referring people for medical marijuana use.
Hosting educational forums for other providers will therefore be a critical element in the business approach. Building strong alliances with other health care providers, community health clinics, hospices, community service organization, patient advocacy groups, support groups, AIDS organizations, senior homes, and referral networks will create a strong and lasting source of patient referrals. At the same time, it will give The CannaVative Group greater resources to fulfill their own patient-centered mission, which includes helping patients find appropriate providers for services we do not offer and helping them coordinate their care across providers. Being known in the patient community as a wellness center with especially strong networking and referral resources will itself be a draw to patients with complex medical conditions.
Industry Leadership and Sponsorships
The CannaVative Group will keep their corporate brand visible though sponsorships of community and industry causes and through industry activism that reflects their community-focused public health agenda and its emphasis on compassion and social justice.
Carefully managed messaging and coverage in local media can be a very effective means to create public awareness.
Word of Mouth
In the medical marijuana industry, satisfied members and their word of mouth is perhaps the most powerful generator of a growing membership. Many dispensaries report that “friend” is the most common answer reported on new patient intake forms when patients are asked to indicate how they heard about a dispensary. The CannaVative Group does not intend to enlist patients to recruit new patients or to offer any special incentives to do this. The high quality of supportive patient-centered care they offer as part of the basic mission will be incentive enough. The CannaVative Group intends to operate as a “community center” for those suffering from serious medical conditions— what the literature on patient-centered care sometimes refers to as a “medical home-away-from-home” where patients can interact supportively with one another. Since non-patients legally cannot be allowed in the facility, patients who appreciate this aspect of services will naturally recommend membership to those of their friends who are also qualified medical marijuana patients.