An innovative proposal may soon make medical marijuana available at a discount to low-income patients in Washington, DC. If passed, the proposal would require dispensaries to set aside two percent of their profits to subsidize qualifying patients’ pot purchases.
The proposal, currently under review by DC lawmakers, would instruct dispensaries to discount medical marijuana by at least 20 percent for patients at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Clinics often make cannabis available for low-income patients at lower prices, but no state has ever written it into regulations. Other states, such as Arizona, mandate a sliding scale for patient license registration, but the government, not dispensaries, funds the discount.
The sliding scale program is designed to improve access for impoverished pot patients, who are often not able to hold full-time jobs because of the illnesses they are seeking treatment for. Government-issued medical program cards will indicate if the bearer is low-income and thus eligible for discounts.
Medical marijuana became available to DC residents last month at the Capital City Care clinic, where patients can purchase their medicine for anywhere from $380 to $440 per ounce. It is not known when the rule, which is in the midst of a 30-day review, would go into effect.