From the Editor: The High Cost of Cannabis
Medical cannabis offers great promise to relieve suffering and ameliorate the symptoms of disease, but it’s only a promise for some. Those who need it may never have the opportunity to benefit from it.
Yes, it’s increasingly available to consumers, and, yes, research points to its numerous health benefits, but it remains out of the reach of low-income patients, people on disability due to debilitating chronic conditions, and the unemployed due to prohibitive costs. It may even pose a financial hardship for others with higher incomes. In many states, medical cannabis is a luxury reserved for the wealthy. Consider the cost of doctor visits, expensive product that’s not covered by insurance, the tax on cannabis, and fees for certification and annual renewals, amounts that vary from state to state. All that on top of having to still pay for medical insurance. Of course, patients who live in states where adult use is legal can avoid the certification costs, but even the price of legal products remains out of reach of many.
Coverage by medical insurance doesn’t appear to be on the horizon. And while there are city ordinances that help low-income patients access cannabis free from dispensaries and some compassionate care programs that offer a break on taxes, they’re not widely available. Furthermore, there are nonprofit organizations that can help, but many have long waiting lists; and some dispensaries offer discounts to low-income patients, but these patients may never know about them unless their physicians are aware and advise their patients of all the resources that may help them. So patients often have no choice but to buy product on the street—which, according to NBC News reporting, can cost one-half as much as legal product from dispensaries—or to do without.
While advocates work to address this disparity, some companies are stepping up to help. In this issue, contributor Lindsey Getz reports on a trio of companies that are giving back to communities and increasing access.
CRx is going to be digital only starting with the next issue, as the majority of our subscribers are reading CRx online through a variety of digital platforms. To that end, we will be enhancing our digital footprint in 2022 with more content and increased online visibility.
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Enjoy the holiday season!
— Kate Jackson