New Jersey's medical marijuana program is working out for some patients but many others are struggling to afford their medication after other necessary living expenses. One step the state has taken to help is lower the registration fee from $200 down to $100, but the price of medical cannabis can still range from $425-$520 for one ounce. Patients usually have much of their medication costs covered by insurance companies but in the case of medical cannabis that is rare due to the federally illegal status of the plant. In response medical officials have discussed descheduling cannabis which would open the possiblity for medical marijuana to be covered by a patient's insurance. In the hopeful future medical marijuana patients on a budget will not have to choose between living necessities for themselves or family over their medication.
“It’s extremely expensive, especially if you’re living on Social Security and disability benefits,” said Marvel, 58, of Somers Point. “Some months I can buy a quarter-ounce (of medical marijuana) and others 2 ounces. It all depends on my finances at the time.”
To address one part of the cost problem, Health Department officials lowered the program’s registration fee from $200 to $100. Seniors, veterans and others like Marvel who qualify for government assistance programs would pay $20.