Recreational cannabis users surely have their advocates and proponents, but perhaps the fiercest activism and involvement comes from the medical cannabis community — with patients, medical prescribers, scientists, researchers and others all speaking in very loud voices when issues arise. Kanna Knowledge has recently visited medical cannabis online groups to see what’s on peoples’ minds — and no question about it, people are looking for change.
What’s on top of their minds? Price, price and price. Simply put, medical users resoundingly question the prices they have to pay at dispensaries, even with the discount they sometimes receive from recreational prices. This is, of course, because health insurance plans do not cover the cost of substances that are not FDA-approved nor physician-prescribed by dosage and strength. Dispensaries often bear the brunt of the blame, yet they are saddled with IRS restrictions that increase their own costs of doing business.
A substantial number of medical patients would like to receive assistance in growing their own strains at home where legal — and suggest that dispensaries be much more proactive in helping them obtain seeds and indoor automatic gardens for this purpose. Many older patients who are retired and have the time to tend plants say they would find this fulfilling but do not know how to begin.
Speaking of which, users think there should be more dispensaries and more locations. Many suburban and rural patients have to make long drives to obtain their cannabis — often 50 miles or more — and are tied to one location that often is inconvenient. Most would love to see the day when medical cannabis is available at a CVS or Walgreens, and question why partnerships between the major drugstore chains and dispensaries have not taken place.
A few patients suggest that all dispensaries be built with drive-through lanes that make picking up orders as convenient as getting a fast food breakfast. — although they do feel that today’s COVID-19-influenced phone-ahead ordering curbside pickup is a good start.
As an alternative, most patients would like to see a home delivery option become reality. This is of crucial concern to those medical cannabis patients who cannot drive or are homebound with a disability. While assisted transportation is a common solution, the holy grail seems to be when Amazon begins making medical cannabis an online click away.
With the pandemic affecting everyone’s livelihoods, medical patients are hoping for financial assistance programs in the very near future. Some question whether medical cannabis purchases could become tax-free, or at least taxed at a lower rate. Others suggest that dispensaries could do a better job of referring them to resources they may not have heard about.
One final area where patients would like to see more, not less, is product variety. Where recreational users are often just fine with a curated selection, medical users generally associate maximum variety with the greatest likelihood of finding the ideal treatment for their conditions. (And of course, once they find their “perfect” solution, they expect it to be in stock every time they visit.)