SACRAMENTO, Calif. – New regulations set to take effect on January 1 in California could help expand access for cannabis patients struggling to keep up with rising prices.
Although profit potential is routinely highlighted in the cannabis industry, the reform movement was born out of a desire to help patients in need. Unfortunately, the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), which regulates all aspects of legal cannabis sales in California, has compromised access for some patients.
MAUCRSA has essentially banned dispensaries from giving away free cannabis products and also has attached rigid taxes at every stage of cultivation, driving prices way up for patients without deep pockets. The steep prices have forced some in need of relief to turn toward the black market. Many patients, who are most in need of reliable lab-tested cannabis are now only able to afford illicit products that could be unsafe.
Richard Manning, a resident of Sacramento County, who injured himself while working domestic security for the U.S. Marines, used to rely on a network of donors who helped him access cannabis. This was common for patients after the 1996 Compassionate Use Act was approved by voters. Cultivators were allowed to donate product to dispensaries that could be provided to those living on a tight budget.
Manning, who has experienced symptoms linked to PTSD and intense physical chronic pain due to a knee injury he received while serving, claims he was able to shed his reliance on opioids and alcohol with cannabis use. Unfortunately, after MAUCRSA replaced previous regulations, Manning could no longer rely on donated cannabis. Hefty taxes on all transactions became the law of the land, even if products were intended to help those in both medical and financial need.
Published: December 26, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News