Virginia residents are traveling farther for their medical cannabis due to high pricing.
In a recent study (1), researchers investigated the medical cannabis program in Virginia and how medical cannabis patients were not utilizing the program. The question arose, “Where are they going?” The answer to that question is that they are seeking relief someplace else because of the high cannabis prices .
The General Assembly in Virginia supported legislation for a study to be conducted on this issue (1). WTOP News reported that “the Virginia medical cannabis program is struggling to capture patients amid evolving local policies as well as adult-use policies in bordering states, resulting in prices remaining high,” (1). The “Old Dominion” state sells cannabis flower on average for $14 per gram according to the study (1). WTOP News disclosed that in D.C. cannabis was $8.73 per gram, while in Maryland it was sold for $9.27 per gram (1). Cheaper options outside of the state of Virginia have been found to be more appealing to medical cannabis patients despite the need to travel to obtain it. In Maryland, cannabis can be legally bought for recreational use. In Virginia and D.C., medical cannabis is the only legal option to purchase in those states (1).
The study mentioned (1), “The price of medical cannabis in Virginia is categorically higher compared to other medical cannabis states, resulting in 90% of patients purchasing cannabis from sources other than the Virginia medical market.”
Data showed how 57% of medical cannabis patients in the state received their cannabis by cultivating it at their home and 65% of patients were receiving their cannabis via a family member or friend (1). “Moreover, 12% of patients report traveling to obtain cannabis from other states or jurisdictions, most notably D.C. and Maryland, where prices are much lower,” the study disclosed (1). Another factor looked in the study discovered that 22% of recreational users mentioned that they had their own access to cannabis which didn’t encourage them to register into the medical cannabis program.
WTOP News reported that the Virginia General Assembly will meet again in January for the new year and this study is encouraging lawmakers to get creative on ways to “increase supply” of medical cannabis in the state which will help bring down prices and encourage a demand for medical patients in the medical cannabis program (1).