Big problems with today’s medical cannabis industry

Published Nov 24, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
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The medical cannabis community is like no other, and it comes with many problems, burdens and annoyances. Unique regulations, price tags, and a lack of availability, make the medical cannabis industry unlike any other medical sector. Do you acknowledge the needs of medical cannabis patients as well as the dire reasoning behind why we need to highlight the problems surrounding the medical cannabis industry as we know it today?

Underlying issues

Some states allow doctors to write a cannabis prescription, but that does not mean that the system is working correctly. Those working in the medical cannabis field are raising their hands in concern. The community as a whole is bringing awareness to a few underlying issues. A medical cannabis prescription is currently issued to those with a medical card for health concerns such as:

  • Epilepsy
  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea

Concerns

The number one concern that has been echoed by those in the medical cannabis community is the price. Prices are far too high. A cannabis prescription may be slightly cheaper than purchasing from a dispensary, but both are subject to state taxes, which add to the overall cost. For those on a tight budget, this can make a massive dent in the pocketbook.

Increased pricing

The IRS tax code 280e can be the reason that prices of medical cannabis are driven up higher. The tax code forbids businesses from deducting ordinary business expenses from gross income associated with the trafficking of Schedule I or II substances. These are substances defined by the Controlled Substances Act. The IRS has now applied these applications to include state-legal marijuana businesses. Cannabis is a Schedule I substance in the United States.

Medical cannabis users are caught in the green path of money. Growing space is expensive, and often the consumer at the dispensary is left holding the bill. This is very unfortunate for the consumer who has a medical card for a cannabis prescription. The medical cannabis patient is already paying so much in addition to the medicine application fees.

Don’t assume

Medical cannabis is tied to how one's health is handled. Reducing symptoms and providing overall quality of life is paramount with medicinal cannabis, unlike recreational use. One would perhaps assume that most health plans would cover a cannabis prescription prescribed by a professional doctor. This, however, is not the case, as writing a cannabis prescription can not be done. Cannabis can not be prescribed and covered. The patient can and does receive certification from their health professional, but this is a unique situation in the eyes of an insurance company.

Your address

Where you live can have a bearing on your experience with obtaining your medicine. Some states are covered well with dispensaries, and other states have dispensaries that are few are far between and located in industrial areas, not residential, which makes them hard to access. A person with a marijuana card should be able to shop for their medicine at any dispensary close to them, helping alleviate some of the extra cost. Currently, the medicinal cannabis user does not have the privilege of shopping at the dispensary close to him or her.

Variety of products

Medical cannabis patients are limited in the variety of products that are available to them. Different strains of cannabis are better utilized for specific medical conditions. As such, medical cannabis patients ask for various products to ensure better medical results. Cannabis patients have noted seeds and clones as being in short supply, and as such, cannabis patients who grow their own medicine are finding it harder to obtain their medication. The lack of consistency is recorded by medical cannabis users who noted that when they have found a product that helps treat their condition, maintaining the product's consistency is often impossible.

Final words

Logistically one may see why a one-stop shopping dispensary may seem like the better step as we advance for medicinal cannabis users. However, this is not the case.  Health services should overcome any logistical concerns ensuring that the cannabis patient gets quality treatment. There seems to be no need for cannabis or pharmaceutical consumers to be denied access to their medicine.

Equally crucial in the life of medical cannabis users is financial assistance support. If dispensaries offer financial aid, this will benefit most of the medical cannabis patients who are currently enrolled in the cannabis program. Amplifying our voice to ensure that the medical cannabis communities' needs are met is necessary to fight for large scale changes to assist those who are struggling financially to fill their medicinal needs.

Barriers still stand in the way of Canadian medical marijuana patients

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