The playing cards should be renewed yearly and paid for every year. After acquiring one, the affected person should nonetheless pay out of pocket for the hashish merchandise themselves.
“Even when the payment is as little as $25, on the finish of the day sufferers are nonetheless paying for medication that’s actually, actually costly,” Churgai mentioned.
Advocates level out that no different type of medication requires sufferers to pay an annual payment earlier than they will receive it. However the registration card does play a task in maintaining general prices down, in response to Maren Schroeder, coverage director of Smart Change Minnesota, a gaggle devoted to increasing entry for medical marijuana sufferers within the state.
“There’s a price to manage a state medical hashish program that must be borne by somebody,” mentioned Schroeder. “If it is not a affected person registration payment or a tax, it’ll be an elevated worth of the product. Anyway you set it, the sufferers are going to pay for it.”
Just like the registration playing cards themselves, the price of medical marijuana varies extensively by state.
It’s troublesome to carry out a radical assessment of medical hashish prices by state. Whereas states usually observe marijuana gross sales, data on price-per-ounce will not be available. Prices range extensively throughout completely different merchandise and never all states supply the identical varieties. The worth additionally varies primarily based on the variety of dispensaries and state tax legal guidelines.
In a 2018 survey by People for Protected Entry, greater than 25 % of the 525 respondents mentioned they usually go with out remedy as a result of they can not afford medical marijuana of their states. The respondents’ common price monthly ranged from $50 to $1,500.
Minnesota doesn’t but supply marijuana flower as a part of its program – solely THC tablets and oils – although that’s anticipated to alter in March 2022.
Scott Smith, spokesman for the Minnesota Medical Hashish program, mentioned his workplace was conscious that some sufferers have been priced out of shopping for merchandise via this system. However he pointed to a 2019 study commissioned by the Minnesota Division of Well being that discovered its costs have been comparable to 6 different states that have been analyzed: Colorado, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington.
The research discovered that the typical quantity Minnesota sufferers paid for medical marijuana every month was $316. The research, performed by consulting agency BerryDunn, calculated the outcomes by analyzing sale data from two marijuana producers over the course of three years.
Smith famous that the producers set the costs – not the state – and that Minnesota provides the registration playing cards for $50 to folks on public help.
“Individuals have been accessing marijuana via the illicit market effectively earlier than medical packages existed,” Smith mentioned. “Till the merchandise are lined by insurance coverage or the business is effectively developed, together with eradicating federal limitations that exist for the business, worth will proceed to be an issue for a lot of people.”
McClellan, who lives within the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington, has been pushing for entry to medical marijuana since 2010. He mentioned that regardless of its legalization, he’s nonetheless in a lot the identical scenario he’s been in since he started utilizing marijuana to deal with his muscle spasms in 2009.
“After I initially went to the Capitol to work on medical hashish, we have been asking for protected, inexpensive, authorized entry to remedy beneficial by docs,” McClellan mentioned.
“It is 10 years later, I am nonetheless asking for a similar factor. Sufferers cannot afford it.”
Wealthy Schapiro contributed.