A proposed law would make medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington, D.C. give 2% of their profits to a program to provide cannabis to the poor.
The Washington Times reports that, in addition to the profit tithe, "Under the regulatory proposal, dispensaries would give at least a 20 percent discount on marijuana to low-income people at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level." Cards issued to D.C.'s registered patients already indicate if their income level qualifies them for the discounted rate.
The goal is to make access to cannabis easier for those economically disadvantaged persons. Although safe access centers in other states may have individual policies regarding discounts for the poor, "This rule is totally unprecedented in the medical marijuana community," said Alan St. Pierre, Executive Director for national NORML.
The District's first dispensary, Capital City Care, charges from $380 - $440 per ounce of marijuana, according to the report. "Marijuana is overpriced because it's overregulated, so a program for the poor is necessary," Dan Riffle of the Marijuana Policy Project told the Times. "There's this outdated hysteria surrounding marijuana, but it's much safer than many other medications."
The discount program is still in development and there are issues regarding reporting and collecting that have not been settled.
Several states issue discounts on the cost of becoming legally registered as a marijuana patient for certain disadvantaged groups of people. Michigan recently excluded the disabled from a listing of those that qualify for a discounted rate to join the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program by re-interpreting administrative rules that have existed for four years. The normal fee to apply is $100; the discounted rate is $25.
Source: The Compassion Chronicles