It is now the year, 2019, and since the approval and implementation of the medical marijuana programs across the country, states have had to confront those seeking to profit from the commercial value of cannabis. This is happening instead of providing vulnerable medical patients, often with limited financial means, affordable medication to treat their conditions. Every year, patients are required to attempt to hold on to their initial rights along with hoping there are improvements of the programs based upon patient needs, rather than enhancing private profits or creating tax revenues for the states.
Like all states, many nights of long hours waiting to testify were behind the final approval of our program in Rhode Island thirteen years ago. At that time, the legislature showed compassion towards us and supported the program in the name of hoping to offer an alternative safe option to consider to help improve the quality of lives of many patients often suffering from lifelong afflictions. The question is why do we every year have to return to our statehouses to speak out in an effort to hold on to what we’ve already earned? Depending on the state, some patients have had to engage in a draining fight for any number of issues. To possess, grow, to be a caregiver, meet the qualifying condition list, the rising cost to run a compassion center which means higher cost to the consumer, the amount of medicine we are allowed to possess, fees for tags to grow, increased costs to register are some examples.
The answer is that the altruism of representatives, which was the driving force behind the establishment of the medical marijuana program, has been replaced by the drive for profit and expansion of tax revenue. As most states are attempting to improve their programs, unfortunately, it appears that the movement to expand the various programs has come to be dominated but individuals driven by commercialism, not compassion. The initial support and feeling of compassion are being replaced by those that see our medical issues as a way to make more money.
Those of us destined to confront serious and often chronic medical conditions on a daily basis already deal with having no access to medical coverage for cannabis and we also must confront the reality that the direction of these programs does not appear to be designed with the interests of patients in mind, as envisioned.
So, what to do?
How about this!
My Dream List:
- Let doctors make the recommendation for possible use with their patient – stop all the inequitable qualifying conditions across the country
- Get Cannabis out of Schedule I – allow research, use in hospitals, and giving comfort, confidence, legal support to the medical field and possible patients still leery due to the governments listing.
- Allow all to make the choice to home grow or have a caregiver grow for them to stop others from making a profit off our medical issues along with the ability to have the strain compatible to our bodies in supply.
- Make this medical use a required insurance coverage!
- Stop trying to make a buck off of us and keep the cost down so people can afford to use it
- Stop the scare tactics, show compassion and allow those using for medical use treated with respect, not like drug addicts or illegal people using it.
All need to remember that state medical cannabis programs are there due to medical issues that are disrupting the normal flow of our lives. We have enough on our plate to then also have to worry if can afford our medication, find the strains compatible, continue to grow, travel to where we need to purchase, along with many other issues. To add having to continue advocating to hold on to our lifeline is just too much to keep taking on. So, let’s return to compassion, equality, and kindness of others to leave our programs alone, and not see this as a way to make a profit off our health and wellbeing.
May life be kind to you,
Ellen Lenox Smith
Author of: It Hurts Like Hell!: I Live With Pain– And Have a Good Life, Anyway, and My Life as a Service Dog!
The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report.