Starting this week, patients in Oregon will have to pay an extra $100 to obtain or renew medical marijuana cards each year – a move that could restrict the industry’s long-term growth but fill the state’s coffers in the short term.
Patients who want medical marijuana card are now being charged $200 each year, double the previous amount. Some low-income patients will get a better deal, as the state will offer cards for $20 to those receiving Supplemental Security Income and $100 to those who can demonstrate current eligibility in the Oregon Health Plan or receipt of food stamp benefits. But a majority of patients will have to pay the higher fee. On top of that, patients who lose their cards will have to shell out another $100 to get a replacement. Previously, replacement cards were free.
The state chalks up the changes to its need to “balance the budget.” Indeed, it will use the estimated $7 million it now raises through the program to fund other health-related projects and initiatives.
Such a significant price hike, however, could dampen growth, as some patients will no doubt find the costs are simply too high. That’s also $100 less that each patient could spend on pot and related items, which will no doubt hurt businesses in the field.
If you want to know more, here are some frequently asked questions on the fee changes.