Many Oregon medical cannabis patients can’t afford dispensary prices. Over 40% of all patients qualify for a low-income discount on their state application. I know that roughly half of the 230 patients I have helped connect with a grower qualify for one of the low-income discounts. A large fraction of the other patients are on a fixed income from social security but do not qualify for state discounts. These patients are by no means affluent enough to afford the retail price, plus tax, of the cannabis medicine their grower provides. The majority of the remaining groups of patients are the ones holding down a full time job or two, and thanks to life’s expensive nature, they also can’t afford all the medicine they need at retail price.
If patients don’t have a grower because of the restrictive plant number restrictions going into effect March 1st (unless we delay implementation), then many won’t spend $70-$250 to the state plus clinic fees to get their card. They might spend that money in a dispensary/retail store where the state will make a fraction of that money back through taxes. Or the patient will choose to find their medicine on the black market where it’s cheaper and the state doesn’t make any of that money.
Those that can’t find a grower but can afford the cost to be a patient and dispensary prices will pay their application fee, but they won’t pay the grower fee. The state will make nothing more because patients get their medicine tax-free. That is a loss for the state.
A better system for Oregon is one that allows large gardens and growers to grow for as many patients as they can support as long as they choose to abide by the OLCC’s regulatory seed to sale system. The state will make a lot more money if they allow OLCC licensees to co-locate with OMMP grows and if the growers can grow for more than 8 patients in areas not zoned urban residential. Eliminating plant number restrictions will make the state $270-$400 in OMMP application and grower fees which is much more than the $70-$250 they make now. This would allow low-income patients to continue to be able to safely obtain affordable medicine without pushing patients to the black market and make more money for the state at the same time.