Stigma has a price

The cannabis community is familiar with horror stories about people who are persecuted and/or prosecuted for obtaining their prescribed medicine. Many thousands more who could benefit from cannabis will never try it because the stigma is stronger than facts, stronger than documented remission from cancer. Stigma is a zombie that shuts down thinking in otherwise intelligent people.

But stigma also has a very real price tag, especially for anyone running a cannabis-related business. Once people hear the word “marijuana”, they get incredibly greedy. An insurance policy that would normally cost around $500 is inflated to over $50000. The base price you got quoted to rent a venue mysteriously increases by over $1000 and you can’t help but think that being in the cannabis industry has something to do with it.

Medical marijuana is great in that some people with serious illnesses can get their medicine legally. But can they pay for it? If cannabis were regarded as a crop like any other, it could be cultivated on a scale that would shrink the price. Thanks to stigma, cannabis is largely grown indoors resulting in a serious ecological impact and big bills. Want a card? Good luck finding a doctor who is willing to prescribe it. You’ll most likely end up paying over $200 for a guy in a coat to agree that you should be allowed to use cannabis. Then 6 months later, you’d better pay him again, or you’ll transform from patient to drug addict at the stroke of midnight. Someone please explain to me why HIPAA laws don't apply to medical cannabis, or why exorbitant fees and checkups are required for a medicine that's safer than aspirin.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think there was some magical quality about large amounts of cash that neutralized an otherwise dangerous drug. Since the danger exists only in the minds of those who continue to stigmatize marijuana, perhaps they should have to shell out the cash to neutralize this hideous monster, rather than putting the burden on patients.

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