There’s no way around it, weed is expensive, but weed is also medicine. Life saving medicine that far too many cannot afford since insurance does not cover the federally illegal drug. Fortunately, there are nonprofits and local governments alike that are trying to tackle the problem head on. Here are just a few of the programs around the country working to provide free or low-cost medical marijuana to those in need. If you don't see any resources listed for your state, don’t be discouraged! Ask your local dispensary if they have programs designed to facilitate access for low income individuals or ask your state agency responsible for registering medical marijuana patients.

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Berkeley, California

INsurance and mmj Residents of Berkeley, California who make less than $32,000 per year ($46,000 for a family of four) qualify to fill the medicinal needs at local dispensaries for free. A local ordinance requires that dispensaries in Berkeley give 2% of their total annual weight to low-income residents who have a medical marijuana card free of charge.

This medical marijuana facility donates 10-15% of its profits to provide free or low-cost medical marijuana to patients that can’t afford it. There is a simple application process and enrollment lasts for 3 months at a time. Patients must demonstrate financial need.

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Washington D.C.

The District of Columbia has mandated that local dispensaries provide 2% of their profits to subsidize medical marijuana sales for low-income patients at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. Patients can seek assistance through their local dispensary. Low-income medical marijuana patients can even register for $25 versus the standard $100.

This program is still in the development stages but is aimed at helping Washington residents subsidize their medical marijuana. This is a private fund developed in response to the many stories WACA encountered about patients who are unable to access their medication. According to Vicki Christophersen, WACA’s Executive Director,

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“People don’t have access to the same kinds of opportunities to get assistance for their medicine

We heard, and have been hearing from patients – legitimate patients who have an authorization – there are people having a difficult time accessing their medications. Hopefully, we can help fill that void until the federal government changes the status of marijuana nationally.”

Medical Cannabis in a pill bottleIn the state of Colorado, if you a determined to be indigent by the State Health Department, not only can you have the annual $35 fee waived, but you can also be exempted from sales tax on your medicine. To be classified as indigent, you will need to provide certified copies of your tax returns to the State Health Department and fall within 185% of the federal poverty line.

If you are a medical marijuana patient in California, this nonprofit has partnered with health facilities, assisted living centers, and charitable organizations to provide free weed to those in need who suffer from chronic and terminal illnesses. The request process is relatively simple and transparent.

Axis of Love is a Medical Cannabis Compassionate Center in San Francisco, CA that not only provides free medical cannabis and baked goods but also advocates on behalf of low-income populations at all levels of government.

Harborside provides weekly care packages to patients who are unable to afford their medicine. To qualify for the care package program, you need to bring in proof of your current income level, such as a copy of your SSI letter or pay stubs.

Harborside also provides discounts for seniors and veterans

15% Senior Discount for those over the age of 65 with proper ID and 15% Veteran Discount for those presenting a DD-214, Department of Veterans Affair card, or Military ID with an expiration date.

Flowering HOPE focuses on facilitating safe access to life-changing medication to those that suffer from multiple ailments, including but not limited to, Cancer, Crohns, Epilepsy, and MS, but they predominantly work with children in need of medical marijuana. Flowering HOPE Foundation has already served hundreds of kids in need and only asks three things of participants: To complete daily journals and/or questionnaires in order to gather much-needed data on the use of medical cannabis as a treatment. To either do community service, or offer a donation. To pay one’s fortune forward to ease the way for others in the endless line to better lives.

If you are a veteran struggling to cover the cost of necessary medical marijuana treatment, Grow For Vets is dedicated to providing Veterans with unique products, programs and services designed to assist them in living with injuries sustained while protecting our freedom.

This is more of a compilation of resources for those patients located in Oregon. On this site, you can find low-cost/ free clinics to obtain your recommendation as well as dispensaries that offer compassion for indigent patients. You will also find a wealth of information on medical marijuana in general.

According to their website, Rhode Island has three nonprofit Compassion Centers, all of which are committed to providing provisions for low income patients. While they do not guarantee all of the patient’s needs can be met for free, they do provide access and will work with patients on an individual basis.