Considering that the Russian-Ukrainian war, misaligned SCOTUS decisions, and an insurrection are the dominant topics in the news, I will highlight this holiday with a promise to evolve with more compassionate and responsible access to Cannabis
I’ll start by paraphrasing a story by Will Fritz of the NY Cannabis Insider titled, “Another medical marijuana patient describes ongoing problems with price, service, and access”. The story is part of an ongoing series that elevates the voices of NY’s Medical Cannabis patients.
Shortly after New York legalized recreational Cannabis, patients and advocates began sounding the alarm about the state’s handling of medical Cannabis, alleging NY’s medical program was being left to rot while regulators focused instead on the adult-use market.
Christopher, a 25-year-old medical Cannabis patient from Long Island uses Cannabis to treat PTSD. Christopher says he has trouble getting accurate and helpful information from “budtenders” at medical Cannabis dispensaries. When asking for recommendations on what products he can use to best treat his condition, he says he’s often met with little more than a shrug.
“It’s like going to CVS, but the people at the pharmacy are like the people at the checkout. In New York it’s like, they’re just here to sell the stuff,” says Christopher. “You’re working with medical patients who rely on this medication — there should be a level of professionalism.”
He has also encountered privacy issues at his main dispensary, where his PTSD is plainly labeled on the outside of the package when he purchases products. “They’ll put your issue on your package, right on display for everyone,” says Christopher.
Christopher also complains that it’s difficult to find affordable dispensaries. He has visited other states where the pricing is significantly cheaper. “When I went to Maine, I was able to get a full gram cartridge for like, $15.”
“The same product,” he says, “would be as much as $100 more at his usual dispensary in New York.
Christopher acknowledges that it makes some sense that a state with a higher cost of living in general is going to have more expensive medical Cannabis than in states where it is less expensive to live. Still, the difference seems outrages.
“Is it $100 difference?” says Christopher. “I don’t think so.”
Like other patients, Christopher also complains about delays and problems with the Office of Cannabis Management, especially regarding the fact that home cultivation has not been adopted.
“It’s crazy that you still can’t grow your own,” says Christopher. “What’s the OCM going to do, they’re going to break into my garage and take it?”
High prices, less accessible products, and a lack of professionalism are all issues that are ongoing in the Cannabis industry. The re-introducing of Cannabis as a viable and valuable commodity started with compassion and an action to help others. A Cannabis users community and industry started the movement to legalization. Law makers did not initiate regulatory changes, the people did. With supplies at a surplus, it’s up to the people to drop prices through industry practices. Education is accessible and professionalism is an attitude that are not costly. For the sake of the suffering who inspired us to re-introduce Cannabis to the world, it’s up to the people through community and industry to evolve to a better place
Jean Talleyrand, M.D.,