The high cost of medical marijuana in New York may be pushing people to opt for cheaper, street pot.
Medical marijuana was legalized in New York in 2014 to provide relief to patients suffering from a variety of ailments such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and chronic pain.
But even when more practitioners have come, more dispensaries have sold, and more ailment have been approved to be treated with marijuana, the prices they put on the products may still be too expensive for the clients.
This is pushing many patients and their families to get the drug the old-fashioned way – on the streets, mostly in their smokable version.
To add insult to injury, the drugs can only be bought by cash or by debit. Credit cards are not accepted and insurance generally doesn’t cover for marijuana product purchase, which means patients have to pay for them out-of-pocket.
On the federal level, marijuana is still considered a Schedule I substance which categorizes the drug as having absolutely no medical value, with a high potential for abuse. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also hasn’t approved the use of cannabis yet.
This remains the case, even when medical pot has already been approved in 29 US states and in D.C. with eight states already using the drug for recreational purposes legally.
Per the state’s health department, there are 1,241 registered practitioners in New York to serve 31,166 registered patients. The gap between service demand and supply can be attributed to the fact that some doctors are still skeptical about what to do.
They generally look up to the New York State Medical Society for guidance and information but since the society does not approve the medical marijuana program, the doctors are left to figure out what to do on their own.
For now, the state has issued public warning about the possible danger of street pot which they say may contain harmful ingredients and contaminants.
The state’s health department made it clear that they are bent on supporting and expanding the medical marijuana industry in New York, with programs and plans already set for execution.