With 28 states in the U.S. now equipped with a medical cannabis program of some degree, it’s hard to deny the benefits that this plant can provide to a wide range of medical conditions. But unfortunately, due to federal illegality, it's nearly impossible for those in need of cannabis who are undergoing economic hardship to find adaquete financial assistance.
But one cannabis business group based out of Washington state, named the Washington CannaBusiness Association (WACA), is looking to take matters into their own hands with a new charitable effort. The organization recently announced that they will be launching a fund to help struggling patients alleviate the cost of medical marijuana.
“People don’t have access to the same kinds of opportunities to get assistance for their medicine,” said WACA Executive Director Vicki Christophersen. “We heard, and have been hearing from patients — legitimate patients who have an authorization — there are people having a difficult time accessing their medications.”
While those in need of other kinds of medicine can usually find the financial help they need from pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and charities, disenfranchised patients in need of cannabis are usually left out to dry. WACA is hoping to change this by creating their own financial support system for medical marijuana users.
Though the organization is currently overcoming the legal and regulatory challenges revolving around cannabis, WACA hopes to have their medical access fund up and running by Spring 2017. Before applying for the financial assistance, Washington-based patients need authorization from a medical professional to qualify. According to WACA, these forms will be made available at their members’ retail locations and online in the first quarter of next year.
On top of that, anyone who wants to take part in this effort will be able to donate to the fund. The financial assistance is part of the new code of conduct that WACA signed earlier this week, which aims to represent the will of the people above all else. With a keen focus on community values, the new code of conduct covers social responsibility, clean cannabis, a fully-regulated system, responsible consumption, community relations, and internal compliance.
With the federal government still unwilling to budge on their harsh stance towards medical cannabis, it’s now up to progressive organizations like WACA to ensure that patients in need of cannabis have access to it. While the increase in states deciding to legalize medical cannabis is certainly a step in the right direction, there are a number of patients who could benefit from the plant but can’t afford it. That’s why WACA has decided to take matters into their own hands and ensure equal access to cannabis for all patients.