One would imagine that once a country or jurisdiction legalizes medical cannabis, then the patients there will find it easy to access prescription medical cannabis products. Sadly, this isn’t the case as panelists and attendees of the Medical Cannabis Conference in Toronto last week revealed.
The first major challenge that medical cannabis patients face is the high prices of products. A clear example of this is in Canada which has had medical marijuana since 2001.
Gerald Major, who is the president of a medical cannabis advocacy group in Canada called Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Cannabis, revealed during the conference that the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada has made matters worse for patients taking medical cannabis.
For example, the high taxes imposed on recreational marijuana have increased the cost of medical marijuana as well. Additionally, the supply shortages in the recreational segment have also reduced inventory for the medical cannabis retailers, and this has forced patients to underdose or go without medical cannabis for a while.
Furthermore, restrictions that didn’t exist earlier have now been imposed on medical marijuana users as well. For example, no exceptions for medical cannabis patients have been made in the rules governing driving while impaired. Gerald Major says such traffic stops are likely to victimize patients using medical cannabis and yet the patients face a bigger impairment threat from the conditions which they are treating rather than the cannabis medication that they consume.
Patients using medical cannabis in Europe also don’t seem to be faring any better. A panelist from Germany and another from the UK revealed that the red tape one must bear in order to get a medical cannabis prescription is extraordinary.
For example, in the UK, specialist doctors must complete a lot of paperwork to the effect that conventional treatment options have been exhausted and the last resort is to try medical marijuana. The requirements make doctors responsible for treating patients with medical marijuana, but doctors are reluctant to prescribe medical marijuana because they don’t have sufficient literature to enable them feel comfortable about prescribing medical cannabis.
In addition to that, the cost of medical marijuana is very high in European where it is legal, and more than a third of all reimbursement claims to insurance companies are rejected for no clear reason. The lack of insurance cover for medical cannabis has put medical marijuana products out of reach for most patients because the cost is prohibitive.
Sproutly Canada Inc. (OTCQB: SRUTF) (CSE: SPR) (FRA: 38G) and SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB: SING) agree with the panelists that urgent steps need to be taken to remove all the barriers to access to medical marijuana in all jurisdictions where it is legal.
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