Long before the coronavirus pandemic struck and turned everything topsy turvy, medical cannabis patients in Pennsylvania had to dig deep into their pockets to purchase medical marijuana. Surveys have found that the keystone state has some of the most expensive cannabis in the entire country, locking many qualifying patients out of the legal market. With the economy in a recession and millions of Americans out of jobs, patients will have an even harder time purchasing the medicine they need moving forward.
Although prices largely vary depending on the products, they remain relatively high. According to advocate and cannabis reform group NORML, some patients are forced to spend up to $1,500 a month on medical cannabis. Jeff Riedy, executive director of the Lehigh Valley Chapter of NORML says that the average flower in a dispensary can cost as much as twice the price of the flower on the black market.
Bill Cobb, a 50-year-old civil rights worker and criminal justice activist, uses medical cannabis to treat chronic back pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, because the drug isn’t covered by insurance, he pays up to $120 per week out of pocket, a figure he calls “ridiculous.” For instance, a patient in Colorado would spend only $190 for a full ounce of cannabis but in Pennsylvania, patients pay around $500 for the same amount.
Similar to Cobb, Daniel Massey of Carlisle has to dig deep to afford the medicine he needs. A brain cancer survivor, the adjunct professor uses cannabis to control his seizures. However, medical cannabis in the state is so expensive that he’s essentially had to drain his savings to afford the treatment. If he were to buy from the black market, he would spend only $240 for an ounce of cannabis, compared to the $500-plus that dispensaries charge.
Consequently, more and more patients are opting to buy from the black market. Although nearly half a million people applied for a medical marijuana card, the state awarded the cards to only 300,000 patients. Additionally, Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program is too expensive for sellers to get into, leaving only a few large companies to run most of the distribution centers.
For instance, Reidy says, the application fees are too high for most sellers, creating a market with ever-increasing demand but limited supply. Coupled with the fact that insurance companies do not cover medical cannabis, this leads to exorbitantly high prices that ultimately prevent qualifying patients from accessing much-needed medical cannabis.
In other news, RYAH Group Inc. is leveraging data intelligence and IoT to deliver and monitor drug dosages to patients remotely. This is an interesting development in medicine and is worth watching over the coming years.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to RYAH Group Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/RYAH
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