In states with both medical and recreational cannabis, medical marijuana users are often overlooked. While many state-licensed medical users appreciate the convenience and professionalism of recreational marijuana, some of the neediest are unable to purchase the medicine they need. One Washington-state based organization is planning to change this reality.
A Weed Fund for the Needy
The Washington Cannabusiness Association (WACA) will be starting a fund to help patients pay for their cannabis medication. The idea is similar to programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. Patients who are unable to afford their medication will be able to apply for aid from the organization. So far, the only requirement is a prescription from a doctor.
The fund would make marijuana accessible to those that otherwise would not be able to afford it. As long as it is illegal federally, insurance cannot help disabled and chronically-ill low-income patients. WACA’s executive director, Vicki Christophersen hopes that their program can “fill that void until the federal government changes the status of marijuana nationally.”
Putting Compassion Back into Marijuana
The idea of helping the low-income receive their medications is not new. Individual dispensaries in Washington have created informal patient funds for their members for years. The introduction of recreational marijuana disrupted their natural pay-it-forward attitude. WACA is reintroducing the concept statewide.
Unlike individual dispensary owners and employees, WACA is a professional organization of licensed and regulated cannabis-based businesses. Their fund could potentially reach significantly more people than individuals could, simply because it is not associated with a specific provider.
It also helps removes the stigma of poverty and disability. With the fund, patients would not need to create a relationship with an individual dealer that may ‘help them out’ or convince a budtender that they are in desperate need. They’d simply fill out paperwork, like what they might do to receive traditional medication.
Plus, in the tradition of the Washington medical marijuana community, anyone can donate to the fund.
Remembering the Patients
The WACA weed fund hopes to change the image of the recreational marijuana industry while also helping those who desperately need marijuana. The fund hopes to launch in Spring of 2017.
We heard, and have been hearing from patients – legitimate patients who have an authorization – there are people having a difficult time accessing their medications.
Hopefully, by this time next year that will not be the case.