Apr 12, 2023
Patients struggle to afford medical cannabis as prices rise
Since the start of the recreational market at the beginning of the year, the Department of Consumer Protection has tracked prices in the medical market inching upward.
The Department of Consumer Protection data shows that the price for medical marijuana has increased 3.8% from $35.68 per product in January to $37.06 per product in March.
At the same time, the average price of recreational cannabis products has dropped month over month in January, the average price of cannabis products was $44.6. That average cost dropped to $41.82 in February and $40.7 in March, a decrease of 8.8 percent since recreational sales began.
The slight 3.8% increase in medical marijuana has the community, which purchased more product in March than the adult-use market, worried. Medical marijuana card holders are allowed to purchase up to 5 ounces, but recreational users are only allowed to purchase up to a quarter ounce per transaction.
“Medical patients are understandably concerned about the ongoing impact that adult-use cannabis sales have had on both price and availability of their medicine,” Lou Rinaldi, a Connecticut patient and advocate, said. “The trends observable in the first-quarter sales data underscore these concerns, as medical product prices continue to increase with each passing month.”
The Department of Consumer Protection said it only regulates supply and not the cost of the product.
“As new products become available and new businesses open, the average product price is likely to vary slightly from month to month,” a DCP spokeswoman said. “While the Department of Consumer Protection does not set or regulate product prices in the adult-use or medical markets, we continue to monitor and evaluate the available supply of products through the information collected in the seed-to-sale tracking system. Medical Marijuana patients with concerns or questions can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rinaldi said this makes it even more important for lawmakers to approve a bill that would create an ombudsman for the medical community.
The Office of Fiscal Analysis said the ombudsman would be housed in the Office of the Health Care Advocate and cost $179,063 in 2024 and $244,345 in 2025. The bill is currently on the House calendar.
The medical cannabis community was instrumental in getting legislation to create the position because it wanted to address the mold issue, but now pricing has become a concern.