DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: An unprecedented D.C. government program will require medical marijuana dispensaries to put aside 2 percent of their profits in order to subsidize pot purchases for poor patients.
Under the proposed rule, which was published in the D.C. Register last week and is in the midst of a 30-day review period, dispensaries will give at least a 20 percent discount on marijuana to low-income people at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
Clinics often offer discounts to poor patients, and other states mention low-income provisions in medical marijuana legislation. But Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said no other states have inserted this type of provision into regulations.
“This rule is totally unprecedented in the medical marijuana community,” he said.
Medical marijuana sales in the District began last month at the Capital City Care clinic. Prices for marijuana range between $380-$440 per ounce, according to the clinic’s website.
The sliding scale program is intended to improve access to medical marijuana for the poor, which potentially comprise a large percentage of marijuana consumers. Often, marijuana patients do not hold full-time jobs due to the nature of their illnesses that qualify them to use pot medically, analysts say. Medical marijuana cards issued to patients indicate whether they are low-income and eligible for discounts on the drug.