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Building a Medical Marijuana Program

In early 2013, a state department of health faced a major challenge and looked to The Ripples Group to solve it.  A voter initiative had just legalized Medical Marijuana and the department needed a trusted advisor to develop the patient registry and inspection operation for the high-profile program. 

The Ripples Group developed an operational model and guidelines which included definition of a web-based IT solution to support registration of patients, physicians, and caregivers.  After developing the initial requirements, Ripples stayed connected providing business advisory and quality assurance services, while the Department built out the program team. The operational model and the IT system are fully functional and successfully deliver the sensitive program.

Ripples was a key participant in the technology development that, early in the planning, became a critical path item to program go-live.  Our team was part of the technology review that determined the most appropriate IT platform to build out.  We helped refine the high-level requirements that went into the vendor section process.  Once the contractor came on-board, Ripples supported the Joint Application Development (JAD) sessions and performed a detailed review of all requirements documents to ensure alignment with the program’s desired functionality.  

The program’s leadership came back to Ripples to support quality assurance and the UAT (User Acceptance Testing) including recommendations on approach and missing elements.  Several members of our team directly participated in the UAT to get a firsthand understanding of the new system and its alignment with the requirements.


In parallel to IT development, Ripples helped leadership develop the program’s business units, from staff job descriptions to office hardware to growing facility inspection requirements.  Our team focused on an integrated IT and operational business flow, given the expected high transaction volume for patient registrations and sales tracking.  We developed plans for business unit development, staff onboarding and stakeholder communications. 

Once the program was able to bring on the planned staff, Ripples took an advisory role to inform the operational development and act as a resource for interpreting and providing training on the different workflows.  While the program continues to grow and evolve, Ripples documentation is still used as a reference for informing the ongoing operation.

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