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Tuesday, Oct 4, 2022

Medical Pot Dispenser Looks to Expand Delivery

Medbox Inc., which makes ATM-like devices that dispense medical marijuana and other pharmaceuticals after-hours, recently announced an acquisition that’s in line with its founders’ ambitions to increase the respectability of the medical marijuana industry.

The West Hollywood company, whose stock on the OTC Markets stock has sky-rocketed from pennies a share to more than $20 over the past year, has acquired Boca Raton, Fla.’s Vaporfection International Inc., which makes a vaporizing alternative to smoking or ingesting cannabis and other herbs such as eucalyptus and chamomile to obtain medicinal and other benefits.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Medbox said the all-stock deal gave Vaporfection shareholders warrants to purchase 260,864 shares of Medbox common stock. The deal, announced March 22, was based on “the $7.6 million assumed value of the shares of Vaporfection International,” according to the filing.

Vaporfection’s home and portable inhalers send a stream of heated air onto dried marijuana to create a vapor, which delivers the active ingredients directly into a patient’s respiratory system without the impurities, carcinogens and smell that come with smoking the herb.

“It’s one of the healthiest ways possible to get the medicinal benefit,” said Bruce Bedrick, chief executive of MedBox, which he co-founded in 2010. He decided to buy Vaporfection because of its product design.

“We looked at a lot of companies, and while there are a lot of competing vaporizers out there, they mostly use some form of combustion which creates toxic byproducts,” Bedrick said.

The cultivation, sale and use of marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but companies such as Medbox are getting increasing interest from investors as more states allow regulated distribution of marijuana as a pain killer and for other prescribed medical uses.

“The industry has to be seen as safe, secure, competent and professional,” said Bedrick, a chiropractor and natural medicine specialist who got interested in medical marijuana several years ago after his mother died of cancer. “People have to have a comfort level, and a product like Vaporfection’s can appeal to those who don’t find smoking appealing.”

Cleansing Partnership

Two Southern California holistic nutrition companies that cater to Hollywood stars, athletes and other health-conscious clients have teamed up to offer a home-delivered cleansing program.

Freshology, a Burbank company offering calorie-controlled vegetarian meal programs, and Costa Mesa raw juice company Ritual Wellness, said the new service, Halo, aims for the segment of the health cleanse market where busy clients have difficulty getting on and off a juice cleanse. Cleansing is a sometimes controversial practice intended to give a person’s digestive system a rest and then transition to healthier eating habits.

The 14-day Halo program, which costs $798, alternates a three-day, fruit-and-vegetable juice cleanse with other days of specially designed vegetarian meals.

The companies coordinate their delivery schedules and are responsible for shipping their own products in refrigerated containers. About 45 percent of Freshology’s clients live in Southern California. Its two other large markets are San Francisco and New York.

“Before, we’d get clients who would go from whatever they were eating to some juice cleanse and have a really tough time, not only during the cleanse but after,” said Todd DeMann, Freshology founder and chief executive, whose clients have ranged from entertainer Jennifer Lopez to business legend Lee Iacocca. “We saw an opportunity to offer an integrated program that eases them through the process.”

Lori Kenyon Farley, co-founder of Ritual Wellness, said her clients were also too busy to prepare the right sort of meals before and after a cleanse, or lacked the skills to do so. Also, her athlete clients wanted to continue working out during a cleanse but other programs discourage heavy exercise.

“Our juices are specially formulated to enable them to do that,” Farley said. “But until Freshology approached us, we didn’t have a meal program we could refer them to.”

Hospital Gift

Providence Holy Cross Medical Center last week announced its largest-ever financial gift, a more than $7 million trust left by the late Julian and Gladys Saunders.

The Mission Hills hospital, operated by Providence Health & Services, Southern California, said that in honor of the gift the lobby of its newly expanded hospital has been named for the couple.

The Saunders settled in the northeast San Fernando Valley after World War II and lived most of that time in Sylmar. Julian Saunders founded automobile dealership Saunders Ford, and later opened two self-storage warehouses. A pilot, he joined the Flying Samaritans and flew medical professionals to Mexico on charitable missions. Gladys Saunders was also known for her charity work in the community. She died in 2005; Julian died in 2011.

Staff reporter Deborah Crowe can be reached at dcrowe@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 232.

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