Thursday, August 5, 2010

Washington DC law aims to make medical marijuana affordable for poor patients


Thursday, August 5th 2010, 11:29 AM

If you live in Washington D.C., you'll never be too broke to buy pot.

That is, of course, if you need marijuana for medical purposes, according to a law passed earlier in the year.

The law provides medical marijuana at a discount for the city's poor residents.

But who exactly is qualified to receive the cheaper pot, along with the price of the drugs, remains up in the air.

The city is expected give some answers about the law in a report Friday, but patients won't be able to buy medical marijuana until 2011, the Associated Press reports.

Fourteen states have laws legalizing medical marijuana, but D.C.'s is the first to offer the drug at a discount.

City officials tell AP an ounce of pot from a sanctioned dispensary could run $350. Police data suggest buying illegal marijuana costs between $100 and $140.

If the reduced rate isn't cheaper, pot advocates worry poor patients will break the law to get their medical marijuana.

D.C. has one of the highest poverty levels in the country, with a third of its residents getting some financial help with health care.

"People under the poverty level and below shouldn't have to pay anything," Teresa Skipper, a medical marijuana user who is HIV-positive, tells AP she can't afford to pay more than $50 an ounce for pot — which she currently buys illegally.

"Marijuana is like gas and food to me," she said. "It's in the budget."

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